Management information systems revision question and answer

CPA-Quantitative-Analysis-Section-4 BLOCK RELEASE

Project management is usually an important activity during the development of news information systems. Project resources such as time. cost and personnel would be identified and their uses properly controlled.
Required:
(a) Explain the term ‘critical path as used in project management.
(b) Describe the role of project management.
(c) Develop a network diagram and determine the critical path from the following project development schedule.


ANSWER
a) Critical path
This is a term used in project scheduling in relation to network analysis diagrams (a general term that includes techniques such as critical path analysis/critical path method (CPM), and Project Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) charts). In a network analysis diagram, the critical path is defined as one with the following characteristics:
1. The earliest starting times (ESTs) and the latest starting times (LSTs) of all events along the path are equal.
2. The sum of the activity durations of all activities along the path is greater than all other parts.
3. All activities along the path have no float (amount of slack time associated with a non- critical activity).

All activities along the critical path are critical since we cannot afford to take longer than the time allocated without affecting the project completion time.

Note:
An activity is an undertaking that consumes time. An event is a point in time that signifies the end of a series of activities or the start of a series of activities.

b) Role of project management:

1. Planning
This involves laying down the framework for the development of a project or part of it. It includes specific tasks, which include forecasting, establishing objectives, devising strategies, developing policies and setting goals.

2. Monitoring and Control
It aims an ensuring actual results are consistent with planned results. Monitoring involves assessing the progress of the project to determine if there are any differences between actual and planned results. The control function on the other hand ensures that the project is progressing as planned and the project team is performing better than planned.
3. Organization
This ensures that the various elements involved in a project i.e. staff, management, and infrastructure are working together in harmony and that proper infrastructure is in place to ensure the same.

4. Staffing
This function is centered on Human Resource Management (HRM), which involves looking into wages, hiring and firing procedures, training of staff, provision of a right environment, etc
5. Directing
This involves the process of motivation, leading, guiding, etc, which positively influence subordinates.

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