Sample Business Studies Paper on Microsoft project planning tool

The planning task has been successfully completed with the aid of the Microsoft project planning tool. Significantly, the project at hand was a school construction, which had to be completed within a contract period of 57 weeks. The planning process has to ensure that the whole construction process has been completed within or before the lapse of the period.

Activities have been linked together using various relationships. Where an activity has to be completed for another to start, the finish to start kind of relationship has been used. For instance, in the planning task, subbase to the car park had to be complete before the subbase to playing grounds and the footpath started. Secondly, there is the start to start kind of relationship, where two activities start simultaneously. In some other cases, finish to finish kind relationship can be adopted, depending on the nature of activities. In addition, start to finish describes a relationship where an activity has to start for another to be complete.

A number of strategies have been incorporated such as overlapping of activities to fast-track the whole process. the logic behind fast-tracking is that in some instances, where applicable, it is possible to have activities running simultaneously. On an actual construction site, this is possible through having different work packages or trades proceed with the work at the same time and place. An example from the process was the blockwork, where labor can be divided to work on various sections at the same time. The effect is that the construction period is shortened, as opposed to having a finish to start kind of relationship. The relationship adopted in such a scenario is the start to start.

The critical path determines the overall project duration. Activities in the critical path have been highlighted by a red color, to differentiate them from the other activities. In such activities, the slack duration is zero, which implies that they cannot be delayed further without failing to impact on the total project duration. For instance, in the event where an activity such as piling is affected, by say a week, the total project duration is extended by another week. Therefore, the total project duration has been determined by the critical path for all the activities that lie in the category.

The non-critical activities denote the activities that have some bit of slack, meaning that they can be delayed up to a certain extent without having any significant effect on the project duration. Therefore, a construction project manager in an actual scenario is wary of the activities that carry the most weight and significantly, ensure that they have been completed within the time limit. Therefore, in the planning, care was taken not to have the total critical task duration exceed the contract period of 57 weeks, since it would have been affected. Notably, activities that required most time for completion turned out to be critical tasks. To take care of such scenarios, activities had to start at their earliest convenience in order to allow for their timely completion.