T HE B LOODLESS C OUP C ONCERT
John Aaron called the meeting of the Programs and Arts Committee of the Student Government Association to order. "Okay, okay, everybody, quiet down. I have an important announcement to make," he shouted above the noise. The room got quiet, and John started again, "Well, you guys, we can have the Coup."
His audience looked puzzled, and Randy Jones asked, "What coup have we scored this time, John?"
"The Coup, the Coup! You know, the rock group , the Bloodless Coup!"
Everyone in the room cheered and started talking excitedly. John stood up and waved his arms and shouted, "Hey, calm down, everybody, and listen up." The room quieted again, and everyone focused on John. "The good news is that they can come." He paused a moment. "The bad news is that they will be here in 18 days."
The students groaned and seemed to share Jim Hastings' feelings: "No way, man. It can't be done. Why can't we put it off for a couple of weeks?"
John answered , "They're just starting their new tour and are looking for some warm-up concerts. They'll be traveling near here for their first concert date in DC and saw they had a letter from us, so they said they could come now. But that's itnow or never." He looked around the room at the solemn faces. "Look, you guys, we can handle this. Let's think of what we have to do. Come on, perk up. Let's make a list of everything we have to do to get ready and figure out how long it will take. So somebody tell me what we have to do first!"
Anna Mendoza shouted from the back of the room, "We have to find a place; you know, get an auditorium somewhere. I've done that before, and it should take anywhere from 2 days up to 7 days, most likely about 4 days."
"Okay, that's great," John said, as he wrote down the activity "Secure auditorium" on the blackboard, with the times out to the side. "What's next ?"
"We need to print ticketsand quick," Tracey Shea called. "It could only take 1 day if the printer isn't busy, but it could take up to 4 days if he is. It should probably take about 2 days."
"But we can't print tickets until we know where the concert will be because of the security arrangement," Andy Taylor noted.
"Right," said John. "Get the auditorium first; then print the tickets. What else?"
"We need to make hotel and transportation arrangements for the Coup and their entourage while they're here," Jim Hastings proposed. "But we better not do that until we get the auditorium. If we can't find a place for the concert, everything falls through."
"How long do you think it will take to make the arrangements?" John asked.
"Oh, between 3 and 10 days, probably about 5, most likely," Jim answered.
"We also have to negotiate with the local union for concert employees , stagehands, and whoever else we need to hire," Reggie Wilkes interjected. "That could take 1 day or up to 8 days, but 3 days would be my best guess."
"We should probably also hold off on talking to the union until we get the auditorium," John added. "That will probably be a factor in the negotiations."
"After we work things out with the union, we can hire some stagehands," Reggie continued . "That could take as few as 2 days but as long as 7. I imagine it'll take about 4 days. We should also be able to get some student ushers at the same time, once we get union approval. That could take only 1 day, but it has taken 5 days in the past; 3 days is probably the most likely."
"We need to arrange a press conference," said Art Cohen, who was leaning against a wall. "This is a heavy group, big time."
"But doesn't a press conference usually take place at the hotel?" John asked.
"Yeah, that's right," Art answered. "We can't make arrangements for the press conference until we work things out with the hotel. When we do that, it should take about 3 days to set up a press conference2 days if we're lucky, and 4 at the most."
The room got quiet as everyone thought.
"What else?" John asked.
"Hey, I know," Annie Roark spoke up. "Once we hire the stagehands, they have to set up the stage. I think that could be done in a couple of days, but it could take up to 6 days, with 3 most likely." She paused for a moment before adding, "And we can also assign the ushers to their jobs once we hire them. That shouldn't take long, maybe only 1 day3 days worst, probably 2 days would be a good time to put down."
"We also have to do some advertising and promotion if we want people to show up for this thing," mentioned Art nonchalantly. "I guess we need to wait until we print the tickets, so we'll have something to sell. That depends on the media, the paper, and radio stations . I've worked with this before. It could get done really quick, like 2 days, if we can make the right contacts. But it could take a lot longer, like 12 days, if we hit any snags. We probably ought to count on 6 days as our best estimate."
"Hey, if we're going to promote this, shouldn't we also have a preliminary act, some other group?" Annie asked.
"Wow, I forgot all about that!" John exclaimed. "Hiring another act will take me between 4 and 8 days; I can probably do it in 5. I can start on that right away, at the same time you guys are arranging for an auditorium." He thought for a moment. "But we really can't begin to work on the promotion until I get the lead-in group. So what's left?"
"Sell the tickets," shouted several people at once.
"Right," said John. "We have to wait until they're printed; but I don't think we have to wait for the advertising and promotion to start, do we?"
"No," Jim replied. "But we should hire the preliminary act first so people will know what they're buying a ticket for."
"Agreed," said John. "The tickets could go quick; I suppose in the first day."
"Or," interrupted Mike Eggleston, "it could take longer. I remember 2 years ago, it took 12 days to sell out for the Cosmic Modem."
"Okay, so it's between 1 and 12 days to sell the tickets," said John, "but I think about 5 days is more likely. Everybody agree?"
The group nodded in unison , and they all turned at once to the list of activities and times John had written on the blackboard.
Use PERT analysis to determine the probability that the concert preparations will be completed in time.