A practical approach to project scheduling: Considering multiple critical path scenarios in project network
A well-managed project results in efficient scheduling of the interrelated components of work tasks, resources, stakeholders and budgets plans. The goal is for project managers to be able to generate an initial schedule at an early stage of product development. Due to complex product development, uncertainties and variabilities exists during manufacturing process. Variable processing times may lead to multiple critical paths within the system. Based on the real world demands of project managers two objectives are considered: Identification of multiple critical paths within the system and minimize completion time of the activity by optimal resource allocation. To solve this problem, a mixed integer linear programming model (MILP) is proposed. The Multiple critical path scheduling approach (MCPSA) is developed to identify multiple critical paths dominant in a system. A criticality index is used as performance metric to measure the intensity of the critical path in comparison to the project completion time. An interface of MS- Project with a simulation software (@RISK) is used to obtain the results. An application of two auger screws used in extrusion molding machines from a leading manufacturer in Kansas is used to illustrate the case study models and the MCPSA algorithm.