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An effective approach for scheduling coupled activities in development projects

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  • Lin, Jun
  • Qian, Yanjun
  • Cui, Wentian
  • Goh, Thong Ngee

Abstract

One of the greatest challenges in managing product development projects is identifying an appropriate sequence of many coupled activities. The current study presents an effective approach for determining the activity sequence with minimum total feedback time in a design structure matrix (DSM). First, a new formulation of the optimization problem is proposed, which allows us to obtain optimal solutions in a reasonable amount of time for problems up to 40 coupled activities. Second, two simple rules are proposed, which can be conveniently used by management to reduce the total feedback time. We also prove that if the sequence of activities in a subproblem is altered, then the change of total feedback time in the overall problem equals to the change in the subproblem. Because the optimization problem is NP-complete, we further develop a heuristic approach that is able to provide good solutions for large instances. To illustrate its application, we apply the presented approach to the design of balancing machines in an international firm. Finally, we perform a large number of random experiments to demonstrate that the presented approach outperforms existing state-of-art heuristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin, Jun & Qian, Yanjun & Cui, Wentian & Goh, Thong Ngee, 2015. "An effective approach for scheduling coupled activities in development projects," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 243(1), pages 97-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:243:y:2015:i:1:p:97-108
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2014.11.019
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lin, Jun & Chai, Kah Hin & Brombacher, Aarnout C. & Wong, Yoke San, 2009. "Optimal overlapping and functional interaction in product development," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 196(3), pages 1158-1169, August.
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    3. Ahmadi, Reza & Roemer, Thomas A. & Wang, Robert H., 2001. "Structuring product development processes," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 130(3), pages 539-558, May.
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    5. Lin, Jun & Qian, Yanjun & Cui, Wentian & Miao, Zhanli, 2010. "Overlapping and communication policies in product development," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 201(3), pages 737-750, March.
    6. Vansteenwegen, Pieter & Souffriau, Wouter & Oudheusden, Dirk Van, 2011. "The orienteering problem: A survey," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 209(1), pages 1-10, February.
    7. Weglarz, Jan & Józefowska, Joanna & Mika, Marek & Waligóra, Grzegorz, 2011. "Project scheduling with finite or infinite number of activity processing modes - A survey," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 208(3), pages 177-205, February.
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    9. Lin, Jun & Chai, Kah Hin & Wong, Yoke San & Brombacher, Aarnout C., 2008. "A dynamic model for managing overlapped iterative product development," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 185(1), pages 378-392, February.
    10. Bianco, Lucio & Caramia, Massimiliano, 2012. "An exact algorithm to minimize the makespan in project scheduling with scarce resources and generalized precedence relations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 219(1), pages 73-85.
    11. Divsalar, A. & Vansteenwegen, P. & Sörensen, K. & Cattrysse, D., 2014. "A memetic algorithm for the orienteering problem with hotel selection," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 237(1), pages 29-49.
    12. Viswanathan Krishnan & Steven D. Eppinger & Daniel E. Whitney, 1997. "A Model-Based Framework to Overlap Product Development Activities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(4), pages 437-451, April.
    13. A D Chaney & R F Deckro & J T Moore, 2013. "Scheduling reconstruction operations with modes of execution," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 64(6), pages 898-911, June.
    14. De Reyck, Bert & Herroelen, willy, 1998. "A branch-and-bound procedure for the resource-constrained project scheduling problem with generalized precedence relations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 152-174, November.
    15. Qian, Yanjun & Xie, Min & Goh, Thong Ngee & Lin, Jun, 2010. "Optimal testing strategies in overlapped design process," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 206(1), pages 131-143, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Junguang & Song, Xiwei & Díaz, Estrella, 2016. "Project buffer sizing of a critical chain based on comprehensive resource tightness," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(1), pages 174-182.

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