Computation Section
Project Management Add-in
 The Project Management add-in considers the management of projects involving a number of activities that must be performed in a sequence that satisfies precedence relations between the activities. The goal is to provide a schedule that tells when activities should begin and end. Instructions for the add-in are on the following pages. Some related theory important to this add-in are in the Project Management pages in the Design section of the site. The figure below shows a representation of a project called the project network where there activities are the rectangles and the arcs represent precedence relations between activities.
Project Management Example

The materials discussed on these pages are strongly related to PERT (Project Evaluation and Review Technique) and CPM (Critical Path Method), two methods developed in the 1950's for controlling complex projects. Since the computer age was just beginning, some of the approximations used for the analysis were necessary simplifications and the methods were primarily implemented by hand or with batch runs on main-frame computers. Although computer technology has made the methods much more efficient and accessible, some of the approximations remain.

This add-in implements of the methods of project management using Excel. An important advance is that the analysis is mostly dynamic in the sense that changes in the data are reflected immediately on the results. This makes possible dynamic interactions between model and user. It also allows the computer to automatically search for the schedule that optimizes a user-defined objective function.

Project Management Menu

To use the add-in, download the ".xla" file by clicking the Excel Download link. Install the add-in using the Add-in command on the Tools menu of Excel. You can also install it with the Add OMIE add-in. If you do not know how to use Excel add-ins, be sure to read the instructions.

Once the add-in is installed, a menu appears under the OM_IE label on the Excel menu bar. Click the New Problem item to create a new problem. Download an Excel ".xls" data file holding the example problem for this section by clicking the Demo Workbook link. Before you can use any buttons on a worksheet, select the Relink Buttons item on the menu.


Click the icon to the left of the title below to review some of the elements of the project management model.

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Elements of the Model

Be sure to use the latest version of the add-in. To see the version date for the add-in select the About Add-in item. You can compare this date with latest version date given on the Excel Download page.


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Operations Management / Industrial Engineering
by Paul A. Jensen
Copyright 2004 - All rights reserved

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