project management Case Study: Wigan University Stadium Construction
After six months of study, much political arm wrestling, and some serious financial analysis, Professor Sean Steel, Vice Chancellor of Wigan University, had reached a decision. To the delight of its students, and to the disappointment of its athletic boosters, Wigan University would not be relocating to a new football site but would expand the capacity of its on-campus stadium.

Adding 21,000 seats, including dozens of luxury skyboxes, would not please everyone. The influential football coach, Mr Tony Timber, 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 a coach of a future premia league football 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 2014 season ends. This would allow exactly 270 days until the 2015 season opening game. The Contractor, Concrete Construction Ltd (Mr Christopher Concrete being an alumnus, of course), signed the contract. Mr Concrete looked at the tasks his engineers had outlined and looked the Vice Chancellor 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 surely hope so,? replied Professor Steel. ?The contract penalty of ?10,000 per day for running late is nothing compared to what the Coach Mr Timber will do to you if our opening game with Omskirk International University is delayed or cancelled. Mr Concrete, sweating slightly, did not respond. In football?crazy Britain, Concrete Construction Ltd would be mud if the 270?day target were missed.

Back in his office, Mr Concrete again reviewed the data. See table 1 below and note that optimistic time estimates can be used 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 240 days. I want to be early, not just on time!?
Table 1: Activities for Constructing the Wigan University Stadium Project

 

Activity Activity Description Predecessors Optimistic Duration
(days) Most Likely
Duration (days) Pessimistic
Duration (days) Crash
Cost/
day

A Bonding, Insurance, tax structuring. START 20 30 40 17
B Foundation, concrete footings for boxes A 20 65 80 16
C Upgrading sky boxes, stadium seating A 50 60 100 557
D Upgrading walkways, stairwells, elevators C 30 50 100 47
E Interior wiring, lathes B 25 30 35 28
F Inspection approvals E 1 1 1 650
G Plumbing D, E 25 30 35 63
H Painting G 10 20 30 820
I Hardware/air conditioning/metal workings H 20 25 60
J Tile/carpeting/windows H 8 10 12 975
K Inspection J 1 1 1 720
L Final detail work/cleanup I, K 20 25 60 13
REQUIRED
A: Using the Programme Evaluation and Review technique, determine the expected completion time for each activity. Use this information to draw an activity on node diagram and an early start Gantt chart for the project. Analyse the activity on node network and determine the expected project completion time and the critical activities. For each activity in the project, determine the total float, free float, and the independent float available if any.

B: Discuss the key features, strengths and limitations of the Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and determine the probability of completing the project in 270 days.

C: If it were necessary to crash to 250 or 240 days, Evaluate how Concrete Construction Ltd could do so and the costs involved. As noted in the case, assume that optimistic time estimates can be used as crash times.

D: Discuss, with examples, in the context of the above case study how Information Technology could be deployed to assist in project planning and control.

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