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Project Planning, Notebooks. Peter E. Johnson Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering Valparaiso University, 464-5185, 205 GEM 30 August 2005 GE 497 Senior Design. Project Planning.

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project planning notebooks
Project Planning, Notebooks

Peter E. Johnson

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Valparaiso University, 464-5185, 205 GEM

30 August 2005

GE 497 Senior Design

project planning
Project Planning
  • Project Planning is critical to achieving goals/due dates and meeting customer needs
  • Can be done at a very high-level (macro view) or in finite detail (micro)
  • Requires that you consider different aspects of each task:
    • Required time
    • Necessary resources
    • Dependencies (prior tasks)
the gantt chart
The Gantt Chart
  • Developed in 1917 by Henry Gantt(1861-1919), a pioneer in Industrial Engineering
  • Horizontal bar chart that graphically represents project tasks and an associated timeline
  • Can be simple (hand drawn) or computer generated
  • Helps to identify Critical Path tasks, as well as opportunities to work tasks in parallel
  • Closely related to its cousin, the PERT chart (Program Evaluation Review Technique), developed by the US Navy to manage the Polaris submarine missile project in the 1950’s
effective use of gantt charts
Effective Use of Gantt Charts
  • Initiates and gives structure to the planning process
  • Creating the Gantt Chart focuses your thinking so that parallel tasks are easier to recognize
  • Helps to keep you ON TRACK
  • Tie certain tasks to members of your team AND HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE
example building a house
Identify Resources:

Contractor (1)

Electricians (2)

Plumbers (2)

Painters (2)

Backhoe (1)

Brainstorm Tasks:






Example: Building a House
building a house cont d
Estimate Necessary Time:

Roofing (4 days)

Drywall (8 days)

Painting (7 days)

Carpeting (6 days)

Inspections (½ day each)

Identify Dependencies:

Roofing (Framing)

Drywall (4 Inspections)

Painting (Doors, Trim)

Carpeting (4 days after Drywall start)

Inspections (Roof., Plumb., Elec., HVAC)

Building a House (cont’d)
additional features
Additional Features
  • Alternate views – Calendar, Network Diagram, Task Usage, Tracking Gantt, etc.
  • PERT – similar to the Gantt Chart
  • ViewNetwork Diagram
  • Optimistic and pessimistic plans
  • Steps for PERT planning*
    • Identify the specific activities and milestones.
    • Determine the proper sequence of the activities.
    • Construct a network diagram.
    • Estimate the time required for each activity.
    • Determine the critical path.
    • Update the PERT chart as the project progresses.
  • Note similarities with the steps we used for creating the Gantt Chart


final comments on gantt chart
Final Comments on Gantt Chart
  • Assignments:
    • Generate a Gantt Chart for the house building example
    • Generate 2 Gantt Charts for your team:
      • Skeleton Gantt – shows major tasks of project
      • Detailed Gantt – shows sufficient detail to show the critical path of your project, milestones, etc.
  • Consult your advisor/instructor for examples, details, due dates, etc.
  • References:
    • Web Page, 1/13/03,,,sid20_gci331397,00.html
    • Hopp, W. J., Spearman, M. L., 2001, Factory Physics, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Boston.
project notebooks
Project Notebooks

Advantages of a Project Notebook:

  • Record info needed at later date
  • Officially document ideas, discoveries, inventions, etc. (important for patents)
  • Track contact info for suppliers, references, etc.
  • Calculations, designs, etc. all in one central location


  • Friends & peers in other courses will be jealous
notebook features
Notebook Features
  • Hard bound, numbered pages
  • Identification on the front cover
  • Cover page with “411” info
  • Reference info – team members, advisor, etc.
  • Table of Contents
  • Chronological entries, signed & dated at the end of each day’s entry (witness signature on brilliant discoveries)
  • Glued/tape copies of critical info – circuit diagrams, flow charts, Gantt chart, www printouts, etc.
  • USE INK – corrections should be editted by striking through with a single line so that you can still see the original thought, calculation, etc.
notebook grading
Notebook Grading

That is all…

  • Each advisor will set expectations, grades, etc.
  • Most (all?) team members will be required to keep an individual notebook
  • Notebooks will be used on a weekly basis to review progress
  • A notebook check is scheduled toward the end of the semester (graded)