develop your skills in planning a project

Semester 1, 2015

Assignment 1

This assignment allows you to develop your skills in planning a project, particularly scheduling the work and resources required to achieve a project objective.  It also requires you to apply project management software to aid the planning, optimising and reporting of your project.
You are to compile a schedule utilising MS-Project* to plan and manage this project.  You will also be required to analyse and maintain that schedule.
You will be assessed on your ability to display an understanding of project scheduling and you are expected to be able to apply the software to a degree that enables you to record and display appropriate project data to support your responses.  Advanced skills with MS-Project are not required but clear presentation of your plans is essential.
Background
You live and work in Perth, Western Australia with your partner/spouse and 2 sub-teen children.  You and your family have (and travel on) Australian passports.  You work as an executive responsible for the delivery of projects for a large corporation.
Because of your unique and advanced expertise in your area of work, you have been invited to present a keynote paper on the first day of a significant 3-day international, annual project management conference held, this year, in Monaco on 6th to 8th April 2015.  Your employer has generously offered to support this honour by providing financial assistance for your travel and accommodation costs for attending the conference, however you will need to use your annual leave and arrange your own accommodation and travel.
As your family has long been considering an overseas holiday, you elect to accept the invitation as conference speaker and take advantage of this opportunity to incorporate a visit to Europe.  In a family meeting, you agree that, to experience Europe, this should be for 3-weeks and to spend at least 5 days in 3 or more countries (including Monaco) and you proceed to plan your holiday.  You also elect to attend the full 3-day conference (although the other members of your family have no interest in this) as your speaker’s invitation includes free conference registration.
You have at least 5 weeks accumulated leave owing and your application for 3 weeks is granted for this trip, however your work commitments are such that you cannot leave Perth until after an all-day industrial relations meeting that you are required to attend in Perth on 26th March 2015.

Assignment Requirements
A.    Create a project schedule: (40 marks)
1.    (20 marks) Develop a work breakdown structure (WBS) for this project.
You can develop this WBS to whatever level of detail you need, however project reports in this assignment should show 50 to 75 items (ie. between 50 and 75 lines in the WBS of any report- Note that this is not a restriction on the level of detail for your planning but it is a restriction on the level of detail of your reports).
2.    (20 marks) Based on your WBS for the project, estimate the durations and resources for the activities that will be required to achieve the project objectives.
Provide a Gantt Chart showing the dependencies between the activities that comprise your project schedule.
Clearly show the resources and durations of the components of your schedule.
In your schedule, clearly identify the start, end and duration of the project and the work activities and the dates planned for any milestones that will need to be achieved to successfully manage the execution of the project.

B.    Time planning & control: (20 marks)
1.    (10 marks) The sequence of tasks is based on dependencies, which may be either hard/mandatory or soft/discretionary.  Briefly describe these different types of dependencies and illustrate both of these with specific examples taken from your project (Part A).
As a guide, your answer should not be more than 200 words.
2.    (10  marks) Select one of the effort-driven tasks in your schedule. Describe how you calculated the duration of that task (including any method or technique) and the basis for any assumptions made.
As a guide, your answer should not be more than 200 words.

C.    Managing a Variation: (30 marks)
On the second day after arriving in Europe, your project is unexpectedly disrupted.  Your partner witnesses a serious crime whilst standing in front of the place in which you are staying and is subpoenaed to appear in court as a witness for the prosecution.  The court case will commence on the first Monday after 8 days delay.  (The prosecutors require at least 8 days to prepare evidence and criminal trials always start on a Monday in this country).  This case will be heard at the first opportunity and your partner will be called to give evidence on the first day of the trial and will not be required after that appearance.  However your partner is prevented from leaving the country until after her trial appearance.  You decide to arrange for an additional week’s leave to compensate for the disruption to the holiday and reorganise your travel plans to manage these events.

1.    (15 marks) Re-plan your holiday to include this variation, ensuring that you manage any significant risks associated with changing and extending the holiday.
Provide a revised WBS and schedule for the project (with the reports limited to 50 – 75 lines) highlighting any changes made.
2.    (15 marks) Explain the effects of this change on the planned project, including additional work and activities that have changed or are no longer required.
Explain if and how you can still meet the objectives of your project within these new constraints on your holiday.
As a guide, this explanation should not be more than about 350 words.

Instructions
•    This is an individual assignment that requires you to present your own work.
•    The assignment is due on Wednesday 29th April 2015.
•    Presentation & layout of your assignment counts (10 marks).
•    Marks will be deducted for non-compliance with the assignment instructions.
•    Present your work in a format that follows the above structure.
•    Your assignment is to be submitted as soft copy (pdf file) via Turnitin on Blackboard.  Ensure that the Guidelines for Soft Copy are followed.  These are available on Blackboard under Assessments.
•    Provide your assignment using the Assignment Cover Sheet and the Marking Template (provided on Blackboard).
•    You may, but are not required to, reference scholarly texts and articles to support your arguments.  If you do, referencing must conform to Curtin University guidelines (Chicago).

* If you wish to use an alternate project scheduling and modelling software tool for the assignment (ie. other than MS-Project 2013), you must obtain the prior agreement of the lecturer.

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