Prioritization is made simpler since project managers may more easily define priorities and calculate the float of each work by identifying the critical path. Slack or float measures how much time a task may be put off before it affects when it will be finished. The float of non-critical activities is positive, whereas the float of critical path tasks is zero. Teams can determine the priority of each work by calculating its float. PERT and CPM are used as a means to make projects more effective and efficient.

PERT Chart is not a rigid chart and cannot be changed at any time. You can make adjustments to it whenever circumstances change during the implementation phase of the project. Use the PERT Chart as an initial project map and a medium for transitioning into the Gantt Chart for future project monitoring and management purposes. From the outset, the project manager has defined the ideal outcome of a project but also identified the possible barriers to achieving that outcome.

  1. This PERT chart software online provides a handy interface with drag-and-drop functionality and one-click diagramming.
  2. The critical path is the longest sequence of tasks that need to be done in order to finish the project.
  3. PERT uses time as a variable which represents the planned resource application along with performance specification.
  4. You are free to add parallel activities that can be located at the same production phase but on different task lines.
  5. PERT charts are the right choice only when there will be very limited alterations to a project.

Gantt charts are better used once you are implementing a project and have a team on board. In 1957, the Special Projects Office created the PERT chart to assist in its Polaris nuclear submarine project. Since then, project managers have used the Program Evaluation and Review Technique in all manner of industries.

You can create a PERT chart manually or by using common software tools such as Excel or PowerPoint. Alternatively, you can use programme evaluation and review technique software, some of which is available for free. CPM is used to determine the earliest possible starting time for each task in the project. It’ll also help a project manager determine the critical tasks and non-critical tasks. If you’re behind schedule, you know which tasks can be skipped without impacting the integrity of the work.

This is critical as project management is all about controlling the time and cost of the project. Project managers use both PERT and CPM to break up large, complex projects into smaller tasks to minimize time and cost. Determine the critical path, which is the longest sequence of tasks determining the minimum project duration. Calculate the expected time for each activity and determine which tasks lie on this critical path. Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is a project management methodology designed to assist in planning, scheduling, and coordinating tasks within a project.

When to use a PERT Chart

The Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is an alternative to the Gantt chart. It’s a productivity chart with unique features to keep teams on track towards a goal. Learn more about the pros and https://business-accounting.net/ cons of the PERT chart in this quick guide. As you can see from the example above, drawing a PERT chart might not be as easy as it seems. However, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it first makes out.

Yet, being able to clearly scope out your projects is critical to managing resources and ensuring projects are delivered on time and on budget. Once you have calculated the expected time per task, you can then add up each critical path estimate to get an average project timeline. A PERT chart uses circles or rectangles, called nodes, to represent project events or milestones. This includes specialized computer software designed to create PERT charts or even a simple program like Microsoft Excel. This template demonstrates a simple activity on the arrow chart design. All arrows are labeled with the appropriate tasks and their expected time requirements.


If you’re already an avid Mind Map user, PERT charts will make a lot of sense. The Pessimistic Estimate is the “worst-case” and thus longest duration, or highest cost, to complete the work. PERT is also great for being ready for a variety of changes to the duration a task will take, either by being completed fast or by being hindered by obstacles. Meaning when you subtract the optimistic estimate from the pessimistic estimate and divide by 6, the resulting number tells you how much you may deviate from the estimate. The larger the number, the wider the range and the less exact your estimate will be. However, perhaps it is best to first describe the scenarios where PERT is more appropriate than other similar methods and tools.

It facilitates decision-making for cross-functional teams with ample data that helps with project management. You can also analyze all tasks to see if the project will be completed within the budget. After you’ve made the estimates for your tasks, then you can begin building the PERT chart starting on the left and moving toward the right. The farthest left is the beginning and the farthest right is the end of the project. The arrows connect the nodes or milestones and indicate the time spend on tasks. Project Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Method (CPM) are both useful tools when planning and controlling a project.

PERT Chart Vs. Gantt Chart: Which System Is Best For Project Management?

Have you heard anything about comparing a Gantt chart vs. PERT system? This PERT chart software online provides a handy interface with drag-and-drop functionality and one-click diagramming. You get the friendly PERT chart templates that can be edited according to your requirements. However, you can also generate such a diagram from scratch using Shapes and Connecting lines.

CPM drawbacks include increased complexity and using a method with numerous moving elements called the critical path. Although the computations can be automated using software, accurate data entry involves extensive investigation and still carries the danger of human error. Critical route method schedules call for feedback from important parties at every stage of the project’s lifespan. The critical path is the path with the longest sequence of steps from the beginning to the end.

Make dynamic project schedules that update in real time as your team completes their tasks. A PERT chart illustrates a project as a network diagram—visualizing the logical and sequential relationship between project tasks. Project managers may quickly comprehend the timing and status of a project by using Gantt charts and advantages of pert CPM network diagrams to illustrate critical path schedules. Team members and project managers can have a more intuitive sense of a project’s trajectory using these visual tools than they might be able to use a less visually stimulating option. Both PERT and CPM have distinct uses in project planning and controlling.

The main disadvantage of PERT charts is that they can be very labour-intensive to create. Just creating the initial network diagram can be a significant undertaking. Creating realistic estimates of task duration can require a lot of skill and experience. ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you plan, manage and track projects.

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