Brian Smith network administrator at Advanced Energy Technology
Brian Smith, network administrator at Advanced Energy Technology (AET), was given the responsibility of implementing the migration of a large data center to a new office location.
Careful planning was needed because AET operates in the highly competitive petroleum industry. AET is one of five national software companies that provide an accounting and business management package for oil jobbers and gasoline distributors. A few years ago, AET jumped into the “application service provider” world. Their large data center provides clients with remote access to AET’s complete suite of application software systems. Traditionally, one of AET’s primary competitive advantages has been the company’s trademark IT reliability. Due to the complexity of this project, the Executive Committee insisted that preliminary analysis of the anticipated completion date be conducted.
Brian compiled the following information, in preparation for some PERT analysis:

1. Based on these estimates and the resultant expected project duration of 69 days, the executive committee wants to know what is the probability of completing the project before a scheduled time (TS) of 68 days?
2. The significance of this project has the executive committee very concerned. The committee has decided that more analysis of the duration of each activity is needed. Prior to conducting that effort, they asked Brian to calculate what the expected project duration would have to be to ensure a 93 percent chance of completion within 68 days.

The AET sales department has been concerned about a new start-up company that is about to release an accounts payable system. Their investigation indicates that this new package will provide features which will seriously compete with AET’s current Accounts Payable system and some cases, exceed what AET offers.
Tom Wright, senior applications developer at AET, has been given the responsibility of analyzing, designing, developing, and delivering a new accounts payable system (A/P) for AET customers.
Complicating the issue is the concern of the sales department about AET’s recent inability to meet promised delivery dates. They have convinced CEO (Larry Martain) that a significant marketing effort will have to be expended to convince the clients they should wait for the AET product rather than jump to a package provided by a new entry to the petroleum software business. Companion to this effort is the importance of the performance of the software development group.
Consequently, Tom has decided to take the following action: tighten up the estimating effort by his developers; incorporate some new estimating procedures; and use some PERT techniques to generate probabilities associated with his delivery dates.
Tom’s planning team made a first-cut at the set of activities and associated durations:

3. Based on these estimates and the critical path, the project duration is estimated at 149 days. But, an AET salesperson in the Southeast Region has discovered that the competing A/P package (with significant improvements) is scheduled for delivery in approximately 145 days. The sales force is very anxious to beat that delivery time. The executive committee asks Tom for an estimated probability of reducing his expected project duration by two days.
4. The executive committee is advised by Tom that after all the estimating was completed, he determined that one of his two critical systems analysts might have to move out of the area for critical family reasons. Tom is still very confident that with some staff rearrangements, assistance from a subcontractor, and some “hands on” activities on his part he can still meet the original delivery date, based on 149 days.
This news is very disconcerting to the committee and the sales staff. At this point, the committee decides that based on the most recent delivery performance of AET, a modified, comfortable delivery date should be communicated to AET clients—one that Tom and his staff are very likely to meet. Consequently, Tom is asked to calculate what the expected project duration would have to be to ensure a 98 percent chance of completion within 160 days—that is a “published, drop dead date” that can be communicated to the clients.
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