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Project Management Work Book and Pmp®/Capm® Exam Study Guide, Tenth Edition by Frank P. Saladis, Harold Kerzner

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Chapter 18. LEARNING CURVES

Note

Learning curves were first introduced in 1936 by T.P. Wright. Wright described a theory for obtaining estimates based on repetitive production of airplane assemblies. The concept of learning curves has since been used for estimating all types of projects and programs from manufacturing to the space shuttle program. Learning curves are also known as progress functions. The theory of learning curves is based on the concept that repeating the same process or operation many times results in a reduction in the time and effort required to complete the process. Most people experience learning curves when they try a new product for the first time, when a new software application is used, or a new tool. The first time the process or operation is tried may take a considerable amount of time if it had never been performed before. The more the process, operation, or tool is used or performed the better the operator becomes at working with it. This reduces overall effort and decreases the actual time to complete the operation. The learning curve theory as written by T.P. Wright states that the direct labor hours necessary to complete a unit of production will decrease by a constant percentage each time production quantity is doubled. If the rate of improvement is 20% between doubled quantities, then the learning percent would be 80% (100 – 20 + 80). Learning curves are used to emphasize time but the principle can be related to cost also.

(Information adapted from ...

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