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CASE STUDY

Project Management

Far Eastern University, a large college in Texas enrolls close to 20,000 students. In a typical town-gown relationship, the school is a dominant force in the small city, with more students during Fall and Spring than permanent residents. A longtime football powerhouse, FEU is a member of the Big Eleven conference and is usually in the top 20 college football rankings. To bolster its chances of reaching the elusive and long desire number one ranking, in 2003, FEU hired the legendary Mario Paterno as its head coach.

One of Paterno’s demands on joining FEU had been a new stadium. With attendance increasing, FEU administrators began to face the issue head on. After six months of study, much political arm wrestling, and some serious financial analysis, Dr. Martino Lewis, president of Far Eastern University (FEU), had reached a decision. To the delight of its students, and to the disappointment of its athletic boosters, FEU would not be relocating to a new football site but would expand the capacity at its on-campus stadium.

Adding 21,000 seats, including dozens of luxury skyboxes, would not please everyone. The influential football coach, Paterno, had long argued the need for a first-class stadium, one with built-in dormitory rooms for his players and a palatial office appropriate for the coach of a future NCAA champion team. But the decision was made, and everyone, including the coach, would learn to live with it.

The job now was to get construction going immediately after the current season ended. This would allow exactly 270 days until the upcoming season opening game. The contractor, Smith Construction (Bob Smith being an alumnus, of course), signed the contract. Bob Smith looked at the tasks his engineers had outlined and looked President Lewis in the eye. “I guarantee the team will be able to take the field on schedule next year,” he said with a sense of confidence. “ I sure hope so,” replied Lewis. “

The contract penalty of $10,000 per day for running late is nothing compared to what Coach Paterno will do to you if our opening game with Penn State is delayed or cancelled.” Smith, sweating slightly, did not respond. In football-crazy Texas, Smith Construction would be mud if the 270-day target were missed. Back in his office, Smith again reviewed the data. (See Table below and note that optimistic time estimates can be used as crash times.) He then gathered his foremen. “People, if we’re not 75% sure we’ll finish this stadium in less than 270 days, I want this project crashed! Give me the cost figures for a target date of 250 days—also for 240 days. I want to be early, not just on time!”

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY PROJECT

TIME ESTIMATES ( in days)
Activity Description Predecessor Optimistic Most Likely Pessimistic Crash

Cost / day

A Bonding, insurance, tax 20 30 40 1,500
B Foundation, concrete A 20 65 80 3,500
C Upgrading skyboxes, stadium seating A 50 60 100 4,000
D Upgrading walkways, stairwells, elevators C 30 50 100 1,900
E Interior wiring, lathes B 25 30 35 9,500
F Inspection approvals E 0.1 0.1 0.1 0
G Plumbing D, F 25 30 35 2,500
H Painting G 10 20 30 2,000
I Hardware/air conditioning/ metal workings H 20 25 60 2,000
J Tile/carpeting/windows H 8 10 12 6,000
K Inspection J 0.1 0.1 0.1 0
L Final detail work I, K 20 25 60 4,500

1. Develop a network for Smith construction and determine the critical path.

2. How long is the project expected to take?

3. What is the Critical Path?

4. Which activities have slacks and how much?

5. What is the probability that the project can be completed in 270 days.

6. If it is necessary to crash to 250 or 240 days, how would Smith do so, and at what cost. Assume that the optimistic time estimates can be used a crash times.

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