We use the very simple immaginary Toy Truck example several times because it is both complete and easy to explain.
Build a Toy Truck and Semi-Trailer Set Specification
The project is to build a carved, wooden toy truck and semi-trailer set that is four feet long with a 10 inch wheelbase. This set will role on its own wheels. The wood pieces must be carved as realistically as possible, which is indicated in the attached parts and assembly drawings.
First, the project manager discusses the project with people who have experience building toy trucks, and concludes that the major tasks will be purchasing materials, processing materials, sub-assembly, and assembly. (This is the project's work breakdown structure.) See Figure 6-2 for the project's complete Gantt chart.
The project manager recruits representatives from purchasing, two carvers, one machinist, and two assemblers to serve on the project team. This team develops a task list named "Build a Toy Truck" as follows:
The worker's schedules, as defined by each task leader, are as follows:
The purchasing manager informs the project manager that the purchasing tasks can start immediately, "next Monday."
It will take two days for the wood for the cab and trailer to be delivered: One purchaser will work half of the time for two days for each of these tasks.
It will take one day to get the axle wire delivered: One purchaser will work full time.
One day is needed to get the wheels delivered: One purchaser will work half of the time on this day.
One carver will start work as soon as the cab wood is delivered. The carver's task will take five days. The carver will not work Saturday or Sunday.
Two other carvers can start work as soon as the wood for the trailer is delivered. It will take them five days. They also will not work Saturday or Sunday.
Two machinists can start cutting the cab axle wire when it is delivered. It will take them two days. It also will take the second machinist the same amount of time for the trailer axle wire.
One assembler can start assembling the cab on Wednesday if the carved cab and cab axles are finished and the wheels have been delivered. This job will take two days.
Another assembler and a helper can begin assembling the trailer as soon as the carved trailer body, axles, and wheels are available. Both assemblers can start assembling the complete unit as soon as the cab and trailer are assembled. This job will take two days.
Printouts from a software product may look like the Gantt chart shown in Figure 6-2.
Proceeding this way, the project manager has accomplished several important things. Under his or her leadership, workers have taken ownership of their tasks and the project as a whole. By demonstrating recognition of workers' needs to attend to other responsibilities, the project manager has established a basis for gaining support from their resource managers. In this context, it becomes reasonable and workable to negotiate with the resource managers for the appropriate availability of the workgroup personnel. In such negotiations, it is very helpful to show a resource manager that the project dates are realistic. Using a Gantt chart will accomplish this task.