Including Generative Mechanisms in Project scheduling using Hybrid Simulation

Jeff Scales

Abstract


Scheduling is central to the practice of project management and a topic of significant interest for the operations research and management science academic communities. However, a rigour-relevance gap has developed between the research and practice of scheduling that mirrors similar concerns current in management science. Closing this gap requires a more accommodative philosophy that can integrate both hard and soft factors in the construction of project schedules. This paper outlines one interpretation of how this can be achieved through the combination of discrete event simulation for schedule construction and system dynamics for variable resource productivity. An implementation was built in a readily available modelling environment and its scheduling capabilities tested. They compare well with published results for commercial project scheduling packages. The use of system dynamics in schedule construction allows for the inclusion of generative mechanisms, models that describe the process by which some observed phenomenon is produced. They are powerful tools for answering questions about why things happen the way they do, a type of question very relevant to practice

Keywords


project scheduling; hybrid simulation; system dynamics; discrete event simulation; multi-method modelling

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