Book Review: Project Management with Dynamic Scheduling

Project Management with Dynamic Scheduling

Project Management with Dynamic Scheduling

Baseline Scheduling, Risk Analysis and Project Control

Vanhoucke, Mario

2nd ed. 2013

Read online on SpringerLink

Today I am reviewing Project Management with Dynamic Scheduling written by Mario Vanhoucke and published by Sppringer. I chose this book to complement your studies on Project Management please see our previous post as well. To give you an overview of the book, Project scheduling began as a research track within the mathematical field of Operations Research in order to determine start and finish times of project activities subject to precedence and resource constraints while optimizing a certain project objective (such as lead-time minimization, cash-flow optimization, etc.). The initial research done in the late 1950s mainly focused on network based techniques such as CPM (Critical Path Method) and PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique), which are still widely recognized as important project management tools and techniques. The topic of this book is known as dynamic scheduling and is used to refer to three dimensions of project management and scheduling: the construction of a baseline schedule and the analysis of a project schedule’s risk as preparation for the project control phase during the progress of the project. This dynamic scheduling point of view implicitly assumes that the usability of a project’s baseline schedule is rather limited and only acts as a point of reference in the project life cycle. Consequently, a project schedule should especially be considered as nothing more than a predictive model that can be used for resource efficiency calculations, time and cost risk analyses, project control and performance measurement. In all upcoming chapters, the project control phase will also be called project tracking or project monitoring. In this book, the three dimensions of dynamic scheduling are highlighted in detail and are based on and inspired by a combination of academic research studies at Ghent University (www.ugent.be), in-company trainings at Vlerick Business School (www.vlerick.com) and consultancy projects at OR-AS (www.or-as.be). First, the construction of a project baseline schedule is a central theme throughout the various chapters of the book. This theme is discussed from a complexity point of view with and without the presence of project resources. Second, the creation of an awareness of the weak parts in a baseline schedule is highlighted, known as schedule risk analysis techniques that can be applied on top of the baseline schedule. Third, the baseline schedule and its risk analyses can be used as guidelines during the project control step where actual deviations can be corrected within the margins of the project’s time and cost reserves. I think the goal of this book is not to compete with excellent handbooks on general project management principles nor to give an extensive overview of all project management aspects that might contribute to the overall success of a project. Instead, the aim is to bring a clear and strong focus on the preparatory phases, the project baseline scheduling and the schedule risk analysis phases, to support the project control phase where project performance measurement is a key issue for a project’s success. The intention is to hold the middle between a research handbook and a practical guide for project schedulers or project management software users. To that purpose, the content of this book is brought in such a way that it is able to inform a wide audience about the current state-of-the-art principles in dynamic project scheduling. The target audience can consist of undergraduate or MBA students following a project management course, participants of company trainings with a focus on scheduling or software users who search for added value when using software tools. Chapter 1 gives a short introduction to the central theme of the book and highlights the three components of dynamic project scheduling: project scheduling, risk analysis and project control. The chapter gives a brief overview of the project life cycle and makes a distinction between project complexity and uncertainty using a project mapping matrix. The complexity dimension is related to the absence or presence of project resources under limited availability, as discussed in Parts I (low complexity) and II (high complexity) of the book. The uncertainty dimension is related to the need of a project’s schedule risk analysis and is discussed in individual Chaps. 5 and 10 of both parts. I recommend this book as a compliment to your project management studies and especially for those already working in this area. It’s a technical book for a graduate level, but an excellent one nonetheless.

  • Overview of project scheduling principles available in literature
  • Integration of scheduling, risk and control
  • Use of software stimulated (students version available)
  • Topics based on many research projects and real-life projects
The topic of this book is known as dynamic scheduling, and is used to refer to three dimensions of project management and scheduling: the construction of a baseline schedule and the analysis of a project schedule’s risk as preparation of the project control phase during project progress. This dynamic scheduling point of view implicitly assumes that the usability of a project’s baseline schedule is rather limited and only acts as a point of reference in the project life cycle. Consequently, a project schedule should especially be considered as nothing more than a predictive model that can be used for resource efficiency calculations, time and cost risk analyses, project tracking and performance measurement, and so on.In this book, the three dimensions of dynamic scheduling are highlighted in detail and are based on and inspired by a combination of academic research studies at Ghent University (www.ugent.be), in-company trainings at Vlerick Business School (www.vlerick.com) and consultancy projects at OR-AS (www.or-as.be). First, the construction of a project baseline schedule is a central theme throughout the various chapters of the book, and is discussed from a complexity point of view with and without the presence of project resources. Second, the creation of an awareness of the weak parts in a baseline schedule is discussed at the end of the two baseline scheduling parts as schedule risk analysis techniques that can be applied on top of the baseline schedule. Third, the baseline schedule and its risk analyses can be used as guidelines during the project control step where actual deviations can be corrected within the margins of the project’s time and cost reserves.The second edition of this book has seen corrections, additions and amendments in detail throughout the book. Moreover Chapter 15 on “Dynamic Scheduling with ProTrack” has been completely rewritten and extended with a section on “ProTrack as a research tool”.

Content Level » Graduate

Keywords » Dynamic Project Scheduling – Earned Value Management – Project Management Software – Resource-constrained Project Scheduling – Schedule Risk Analysis

Related subjects » Applications – Business & Management for Professionals – Operations Research & Decision Theory – Organization – Human Resource Management

TABLE OF CONTENTS / PREFACE / SAMPLE PAGES

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