You have been appointed as a project manager in a U.K. based company specialising in manufacture of wind turbine blades made from glass and carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites. As a part of company’s policy to move from traditional product development and manufacture to sustainable product development manufacture, the company has decided to hybridise lighter reinforcing materials such as flax and hemp fibre with glass and carbon fibre to make eco-friendly hybridised turbine blades. The scope of work for the whole project is large and complex. Therefore, the top management of the company has decided to break this large complex project into small sub-projects.

The sub-project assigned to you is the design, development and the manufacture of a prototype of this new type of blade. The activities of the sub-project have been grouped into eight main activities. The list of these activities and their completion time and immediate predecessor (s) activities are presented in Table 1. See image.

(a) Briefly describe the importance of the following stages/phases while undertaking above mentioned project activities:

  • needs and demand;
  • conceptual and development
  • planning phase
  • manufacture and assembly phase

(b) Construct an activity-on-the-node (AON) diagram to satisfy the scheduling requirements for this project and calculate the earliest start, earliest finish, late start, late finish and float time for each activity. Also discuss on the advantages of AON over an activity-on-the-arrow (AOA) representation.

(c) Determine the critical path and expected duration of the project. Also suggest why would a project manager manage critical path tasks differently than non-critical tasks?

(d) The concept of crashing in critical path method (CPM) is applied to Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). If the top management decide crashing the project in order to reduce the duration and its variance, suggest the outcome of this decision in terms of the quality, cost and the employee morale.

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