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An Innovative Approach to Teaching Project Resource Leveling

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Learning and Teaching Experiences

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


David S. Greenburg The Citadel

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Dr. Greenburg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Leadership and Program Management (ELPM) in the School of Engineering (SOE) at The Citadel. He served over 20 years of active military service in the United States Marine Corps. During his military career he served in a variety of progressively responsible command and staff and leadership positions in Infantry, Logistics, Acquisition, and Human Resources; with peacetime and combat experience. Upon completion of active military service, Dr. Greenburg served in technical program management and leadership positions at Eagan McAllister Associates, and Science Applications International Corporation until he joined the faculty at the Citadel. Dr. Greenburg’s research interests include modeling project networks, technical decision making and leadership. Dr. Greenburg earned is bachelors degree from The Citadel (1981), Masters of Science degree from the Naval Postgraduate School (1994), and his PhD in Business Administration (Management of Engineering and Technology) from Northcentral University (2010). He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by The Project Management Institute (PMI).

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Nahid Vesali P.E. The Citadel

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Dr. Nahid Vesali is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Leadership and Program Management (ELPM) in the School of Engineering (SOE) at The Citadel. She joined the program in Aug 2020. She teaches project management, technical planning and scheduling, and construction management courses at The Citadel.
Dr. Vesali earned her PhD in Civil Engineering from Florida International University. She holds M.Sc. in Construction Engineering and Management from IAU, and B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology. Prior to joining The Citadel, she worked at Plaza Construction, Florida Group LLC. She worked with the corporate Quality Management team and project management team for high-rise projects. Dr. Vesali’s past research has been focused on decision making and risk management in existence of deep uncertainty. She is also interested in research related to creating inclusive environment for female and minority students in STEM majors.

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Dimitra Michalaka P.E. The Citadel Orcid 16x16

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Dimitra Michalaka, Ph.D., P.E., is an associate professor in the civil and environmental engineering (CE) department at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina (SC), U.S.A, the Associate Director for the Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility (C2M2), and a register professional engineer at the state of SC. She received her undergraduate diploma in civil engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in 2007. Shortly thereafter she moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies at the University of Florida. She graduated with a M.S. in CE in 2009 and a Ph.D. in 2012. Dr. Michalaka is passionate about teaching in college and K-12 levels and conducting research in both transportation engineering, focused on traffic operations, congestion pricing, and traffic simulation, and engineering education. Recently, in December 2020, she is also graduated with a Master's of Science degree in Project Management from The Citadel.

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This paper presents an innovative approach using an integrated example for teaching students effective schedule creation and resource management using Linear Programming. This approach is designed to deepen student understanding of the various factors that should be considered for effective project decision making. Successful schedule control requires an understanding of important project elements to include requirements, schedule, budget, assumptions, constraints, and objectives. These elements can compete against each other and makes resource allocation difficult to address without using optimization techniques. Engineering students in introductory project management courses are typically taught how to identify and sequence activities to develop a project schedule using simple example problems. These examples tend to be composed of only a few activities and resources which support development of an initial schedule and often do not address the impact of scope changes that require reallocation of resources and revisions to the schedule. Successfully adjusting resource allocation to address project scope and activity duration changes requires a solid understanding of project crashing. Project crashing involves shortening project duration by reducing the time of one or more activities. Crashing is done by increasing the resources to the project, and involves cost and schedule trade-offs. The integrated example focuses on minimizing the total cost that results from (a) resource allocation, (b) activity dependencies, (c) timing of deliverables using the available spreadsheets. The method has been introduced in both undergraduate and graduate introductory project management classes. Student feedback shows that the method supports concept mastery by demonstrating how to achieve balanced solutions.

Key Words: Resource Allocation, Scheduling, Optimization, Linear Programming

Greenburg, D. S., & Vesali, N., & Michalaka, D. (2021, July), An Innovative Approach to Teaching Project Resource Leveling Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36671

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