Activity modes selection for project crashing through deterministic simulation

Ashok Mohanty, Jibitesh Mishra, Biswajit Satpathy


Purpose: The time-cost trade-off problem addressed by CPM-based analytical approaches, assume unlimited resources and the existence of a continuous time-cost function. However, given the discrete nature of most resources, the activities can often be crashed only stepwise. Activity crashing for discrete time-cost function is also known as the activity modes selection problem in the project management. This problem is known to be NP-hard. Sophisticated optimization techniques such as Dynamic Programming, Integer Programming, Genetic Algorithm, Ant Colony Optimization have been used for finding efficient solution to activity modes selection problem. The paper presents a simple method that can provide efficient solution to activity modes selection problem for project crashing.

Design/methodology/approach: Simulation based method implemented on electronic spreadsheet to determine activity modes for project crashing. The method is illustrated with the help of an example.

Findings: The paper shows that a simple approach based on simple heuristic and deterministic simulation can give good result comparable to sophisticated optimization techniques.

Research limitations/implications: The simulation based crashing method presented in this paper is developed to return satisfactory solutions but not necessarily an optimal solution.

Practical implications: The use of spreadsheets for solving the Management Science and Operations Research problems make the techniques more accessible to practitioners. Spreadsheets provide a natural interface for model building, are easy to use in terms of inputs, solutions and report generation, and allow users to perform what-if analysis.

Originality/value: The paper presents the application of simulation implemented on a spreadsheet to determine efficient solution to discrete time cost tradeoff problem.


project management, activity crashing, CPM, simulation, optimization

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience