Quick info. A project is interpreted as a set of tasks or action items related to the achievement of the planned target, which typically has a unique and nonrecurring character (for example, construction of a new factory, creating a new serial product, etc.). Project management Ч an area of activity, during which are defined and achieved clear goals of the project in balancing between the volume of works, resources, time, quality and risks. At that, are solved the tasks of developing a plan of the project and supporting the latter in the process of its implementation.
Tasks on project management usually arise in such application areas as design, construction, manufacturing and business. To solve them, there are a lot of special software tools, the most famous of which is the Microsoft Project. Almost all of them realize only one technology of project management, based on the known methods of a critical path and PERT, and on the Gantt charts. Features of this technology, that is widely used in practice, are as follows:
a project plan (i.e. a model of performing a project) is presented in the form of a Gantt chart or a network schedule consisting of stages (phases), either of which includes several successively executed works (tasks);
for each work of the project plan are assigned necessary resources, after that are calculated costs and times of executing all these works and the entire project;
using the method of a critical path is performed an improvement of the project plan to meet the initial directive indicators (required cost and time of its fulfillment), as well as to minimize the cost of its performing through reallocation of resources between its individual works. At that, are taken into account numerous constraints upon the total resources on separate categories, as well as the specificity of human and material resources;
after coming into effect of the project plan is made constant tracking of the process of project fulfillment, and in case of any deviation from the plan Ч making the necessary corrections in its remaining part.
The shortcomings of the existing technology of project management are, in the opinion of the founder of the IT AC DITP, the following:
in the difficulty and complexity of procedures of both drawing up of the project plan, and its subsequent necessary correction, which have a lot of manual operations, the success of their execution is determined by experience of the developer and a depth of knowledge of the project;
in the actual presence instead of optimization (in its pure form) of the project plan its some improvement as compared with the initial variant with regard to reducing the time or cost of its fulfillment. In other words, there is no guarantee that your plan will provide the least duration of the project fulfillment at a given restriction on its cost or vice versa Ч the lowest cost for a given time limit for its performing. This is primarily due to the fact that we have to take into account a lot of different constraints on the used resources, which makes it difficult to apply standard procedures of optimization.
Before outlining the essence of the proposed new technology of project management, we note the following: the cost and time of performing any project, i.e. its general indicators are determined by the volume of its works (a project plan), as well as by the assigned resources on their execution. In other words, each work of the project is characterized by two parameters that affect its general indicators: the cost and time of executing this work. If we thus abstract from any restrictions associated with the specificity of assignment of human and material resources for executing the project works, which is typical for the existing technology, then we will be able to solve such tasks of project management, which until now were not available, namely, the tasks of finding an optimal compromise between the cost (time) and time (cost) of performing the project or any remaining part of it. The offered technology allows to do it.
Below are listed its main features:
a project plan is presented by a network graph of arbitrary structure, consisting of ordinary and nested chains of operations (in known terms of existing technology Ч the operation is a work of the project, and the chain of operations Ч its stage);
for any operation of the network graph is given a set of options of its execution, each of which is characterized by two parameters: the cost and time of its executing;
there are no restrictions on the total resources of required categories with the exception of possible accounting of the temporarily unavailable resources of certain categories. In other words, for successful fulfillment of the project in accordance with its generated optimal plan, you should ensure the availability of the all specified in this plan resources;
if any resource is required to execute several simultaneously occurring operations of the project, then to eliminate the conflict between such operations is proposed to interpret this resource as a temporarily unavailable one, selecting for each of these operations a separate time window in which this resource can be assigned to it.
The advantages of the proposed new technology over the traditional technology of project management are as follows:
there appeared the possibility, which formerly absent, of solving the following tasks of optimizing the plan of performing any project: a) minimization of the cost of its fulfillment under the given constraints (there may be several) on its running time; b) minimization of the project running time at the set restrictions on the cost of its fulfillment;
there significantly reduced laboriousness of drawing up the project plan, as well as its modification during fulfillment (the latter is carried out by re-solving the optimization task, to which are entered the realized values of already executed operations, including that operation, which duration or a cost of execution exceeded the set value).
To realize the proposed technology, the founder of IT AC DTIP has created for it a key software tool Ч the multilingual program "Goal achievement optimization, version 2.2 (GAO 2.2)". It is designed to find the optimal compromise between the cost and time of performing the network graph, that presents a given set of chains of linked operations (ordinary and nested), aimed at achieving the set goal. Each of these operations is characterized by different options of values of the cost and net time of its execution, relating to the relevant resources, some of which may be temporarily unavailable.
GAO 2.2 allows to minimize the cost (or time) of performing the network graph with the set limits on time (cost) of its performance. The result of solving any task, presented in a tabular form, is a set of optimal options of executing all operations of the network graph for each specified limit of time (cost) of its performing. In particular, for each operation of the graph are pointed all its parameters, including the time range within which is possible to vary the start of its fulfillment. Such tasks can be solved as for the new network graph, which has not yet been optimized, and in the process of practical realization of the existing graph, the calculated optimal parameters of which have been found earlier, but in practice changed.
The basis of solving tasks of goal achievement optimization is the method of numerical optimization of discrete processes of service, as well as a unique scheme of optimizing such processes developed by the creator of the program.
There are developed two variants of GAO 2.2: the usual one (Multilingual local instrumental system (MLIS) of goal achievement optimization Ч MLIS GAO 2.2) and the network (Multilingual network instrumental system (MNIS) of goal achievement optimization Ч MNIS GAO 2.2).
MLIS GAO 2.2 is an offline program, designed for a particular user. MNIS GAO 2.2 is designed to provide network services to many users. This system consists of two parts: one remote module of optimization (MO), wherein occurs synthesis of optimal strategies of performing network graphs, and numerous automated work places (AWPs), that are targeted to specific users of MNIS. Each such AWP is designed to prepare by an individual user the input data of tasks to be solved and to output the results of their solution. Informational link between AWPs and MO is realized via Internet by exchange of files with input and output data. At that, MO is located on a network server, that provides operativity and full automation of the process of interaction between AWPs and this module.
For implementation to life of the proposed technology is enough to create a relatively simple program of project management (it is desirable that it was free), the main element of which will be MNIS GAO 2.2. Then, any individual or corporate user of this program will be able to solve through the Internet his tasks of project management of any complexity, while only paying for the results of their remote solutions.