The following paper analyzes the Whitbread World Sailboat Race case scenario presented at the end of chapter 9 in the Gray and Larson text, Project Management: the Managerial Process. The project encompasses two main objectives; one, design, build and test a new vessel, and two, select and train a crew capable of winning the race. Both objectives must be completed within 45 weeks, the start of the race, and with a planned budget of $3.2 million.
Initial projections show that the current schedule will take 50 weeks to finish with a final budget estimate of $3.152 million. Although the project estimate comes in under budget, the time frame for completion extends beyond the acceptable 45 weeks. Therefore, the following discussion takes a closer look at the project's conditions by developing a project priority matrix, project network, and a Gantt chart to help Bjorn Ericksen and his team reduce the project duration. The author then offers a project closure approach.
Bjorn Ericksen Project Strategy Analysis
Bjorn Ericksen was chosen as the project manager because of his past experience as a master helmsman and because of his recent fame as the "best designer of racing sailboats in the world" (Gray & Larson, 2006). Bjorn has designated Karin Knutsen to be his chief design engineer and Trygve Wallvik as his master helmsman. The two will also be acting team leaders responsible for getting their sailing vessel ready for the traditional parade of entries on the Thames River in the United Kingdom, which signals the beginning of the race. Karin and Trygve both have a thorough handle on the sequence of events, and costs required to design, construct and test the vessel, as well as selecting, hiring and training the crew. Their project plan includes developing both normal and crash costs and durations, a project priority matrix to facilitate the decision making process, and a project network that will show the critical path among the many activities. The team leaders' projections show that the cost of starting the race under normal circumstances would be $3,152,000 (see table 2), however, normal conditions also dictate that the project will require 50 weeks to finish. As with any solid plan, the team leaders have also calculated crash times and costs as backup options in case the project experiences delays, or in this circumstance an imposed deadline; the start of the race 45 weeks from now. Analyzing crash times and costs we see that if each activity were crashed the project could be finished in 42 weeks, however, the budget would skyrocket to $4.952 million (see table 5). Therefore, the team will need to analyze the project network and its critical path to determine which individual activities can be crashed while maintaining the integrity of the budget.
Plan to Reduce Project Duration
Before deciding which activities should be crashed, Bjorn and his team first need to have a clear understanding of the project's priorities. To do this the team has first defined the project's scope and decided to develop a project priority matrix. Defining the project scope sets the stage for developing a plan and its primary purpose is to define as clearly as possible the deliverables and to focus project plans (Gray & Larson, 2006). The team has stated the project's objectives, defined deliverables, established milestones and technical requirements, which help define the project's scope and establish priorities. With the imposed deadline, completion of the project on time should be the project's top priority and thus becomes the constrained parameter; the project must be completed within 45 weeks if they are to enter the race. Performance of the vessel and its crew then is priority number two and is enhanced; winning the race is the team's ultimate goal. The team then must accept the budget as the least important priority. As the project manager, Bjorn Ericksen must...