Event chain methodology
Event chain methodology is an uncertainty modeling and schedule network analysis
Network analysis
Network analysis can refer to:* Analysis of general networks: see Network theory.* Electrical network analysis see Network analysis .* Social network analysis.You may also be interested in Network planning and design...

 technique that is focused on identifying and managing events and event chains that affect project
A project in business and science is typically defined as a collaborative enterprise, frequently involving research or design, that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim. Projects can be further defined as temporary rather than permanent social systems that are constituted by teams...

 schedules. Event chain methodology is the next advance beyond critical path method
Critical path method
The critical path method is an algorithm for scheduling a set of project activities. It is an important tool for effective project management.-History:...

 and critical chain
Critical chain
Critical chain project management is a method of planning and managing projects that puts the main emphasis on the resources required to execute project tasks. It was developed by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. This is in contrast to the more traditional critical path and PERT methods, which emphasize task...

 project management..

Event chain methodology helps to mitigate effect motivation
Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation...

al and cognitive biases in estimating
Estimation is the calculated approximation of a result which is usable even if input data may be incomplete or uncertain.In statistics,*estimation theory and estimator, for topics involving inferences about probability distributions...

 and scheduling
Scheduling (production processes)
Scheduling is an important tool for manufacturing and engineering, where it can have a major impact on the productivity of a process. In manufacturing, the purpose of scheduling is to minimize the production time and costs, by telling a production facility when to make, with which staff, and on...

. In many cases, project managers intentionally or unintentionally create project schedules that are impossible to implement. The methodology also simplifies the process of defining risks and uncertainties in project schedules, particularly by improving the ability to provide reality checks and to visualize multiple events.
Event chain methodology is used to perform more accurate quantitative analysis while taking into account such factors as relationships between different events and actual moments of the events.

Moment of risk and state of activity

An activity (task) in most real life processes is not a continuous uniform procedure. Tasks are affected by external events, which transform an activity from one state to another.
One of the important properties of an event is the moment when an event occurs during the course of an activity. This moment, when an event occurs, in most cases is probabilistic and can be defined using statistical distribution.

Event Chains

Events can cause other events, which will create event chains. These event chains can significantly affect the course of the project.
For example, requirement changes can cause an activity to be delayed. To accelerate the activity, the project manager allocates a resource from another activity, which then leads to a missed deadline. Eventually, this can lead to the failure of the project.

Monte Carlo Simulations

Once events and event chains are defined, quantitative analysis using Monte Carlo simulation can be performed to quantify the cumulative effect of the events. Probabilities and effects of risks are used as input data for Monte Carlo simulation of the project schedule. In most real life projects, it is necessary to supplement the information regarding the uncertainties expressed as an event, with distributions related to duration, start time, cost, and other parameters.

Critical Event Chains

The single events or the event chains that have the most potential to affect the projects are the “critical events” or “critical chains of events.” By identifying critical events or critical chains of events, we can mitigate their negative effects. These critical chains of events can be identified by analyzing the correlations between the main project parameters, such as project duration or cost, and the event chains.

Performance Tracking with Event Chains

Monitoring the activity's progress ensures that updated information is used to perform the analysis. During the course of the project, the probability and time of the events can be recalculated based on actual data. The main issue with performance tracking is forecasting an activity’s duration and cost if an activity is partially completed and certain events are assigned to the activity. The simple heuristic approach to this problem is to analyze the moment of risk, which is defined as one of the event parameters. Advanced analysis can be performed using a Bayesian approach.

Event Chain Diagrams

Event Chain Diagrams are visualizations that show the relationships between events and tasks and how the events affect each other. The simplest way to represent these chains is to depict them as arrows associated with certain tasks or time intervals on the Gantt chart. Different events and event chains can be displayed using different colors. Events can be global (for all tasks in the project) and local (for a particular task). By using Event Chain Diagrams to visualize events and event chains, the modelling and analysis of risks and uncertainties can be significantly simplified.

Repeated Activities

Sometimes events can cause the start of an activity that has already been completed. This is a very common scenario for real life projects; sometimes a previous activity must be repeated based on the results of a succeeding activity. Modeling of these scenarios using event chain methodology is simple. The original project schedule does not need to be updated, as all that is required is to define the event and assign it to an activity that points to the previous activity. In addition, a limit to the number of times an activity can be repeated needs to be defined.

Event Chains and Risk Mitigation

If event or event chain occurs during the course of a project, it may require some mitigation effort. In some cases, mitigation plans can be generated. Mitigation plans are an activity or group of activities (small schedule) that augment the project schedule if a certain event occurs. The solution is to assign the mitigation plan to an event or event chain. These small schedules will be triggered when an event chain occurs. The same mitigation plan can be used for different events.

Resource Allocation Based on Events

One potential event is the reassignment of a resource from one activity to another, which can occur under certain conditions. For example, if an activity requires more resources to complete it within a fixed period, this will trigger an event to reallocate the resource from another activity. Reallocation of resources can also occur when activity duration reaches a certain deadline or the cost exceeds a certain value. Events can be used to model different situations with resources, e.g. temporary leave, illness, vacations, etc.

See also

  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • List of project management topics
  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique
    Program Evaluation and Review Technique
    The Program ' Evaluation and Review Technique, commonly abbreviated PERT, is a statistical tool, used in project management, that is designed to analyze and represent the tasks involved in completing a given project...

  • Project
    A project in business and science is typically defined as a collaborative enterprise, frequently involving research or design, that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim. Projects can be further defined as temporary rather than permanent social systems that are constituted by teams...

  • Project management
    Project management
    Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end , undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value...

  • Project planning
    Project planning
    Project planning is part of project management, which relates to the use of schedules such as Gantt charts to plan and subsequently report progress within the project environment....

  • Work breakdown structure
    Work breakdown structure
    A work breakdown structure , in project management and systems engineering, is a deliverable oriented decomposition of a project into smaller components. It defines and groups a project's discrete work elements in a way that helps organize and define the total work scope of the project.A work...

  • List of project management software

Further reading

  • Arnaud Doucet, Nando de Freitas and Neil Gordon, Sequential Monte Carlo methods in practice, 2001, ISBN 0-387-95146-6.
  • Hammond, J.S. and Keeney, R.L. and Raiffa, H., Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions (1999). Harvard Business School Press
  • D. Kahneman and A. Tversky (ed.) (1982). Judgement under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-28414-7
  • Keeney, R.L.,Value-focused thinking -- A Path to Creative Decisionmaking (1992). Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-93197-1
  • Matheson, David, and Matheson, Jim, The Smart Organization: Creating Value through Strategic R&D (1998). Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 0-87584-765-X
  • Raiffa, Howard, Decision Analysis: Introductory Readings on Choices Under Uncertainty (1997). McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-052579-X
  • Robert C.P. and G. Casella. "Monte Carlo Statistical Methods" (second edition). New York: Springer-Verlag, 2004, ISBN 0-387-21239-6
  • Skinner, David, Introduction to Decision Analysis, 2nd Edition (1999). Probabilistic. ISBN 0-9647938-3-0
  • Smith, J.Q., Decision Analysis: A Bayesian Approach (1988), Chapman and Hall. ISBN 0-412-27520-1

External links

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