What is a PERT chart?

A Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT Chart) is a graphical representation of a project plan that shows the sequence of tasks, which tasks can be performed concurrently, and the critical path of tasks that must be completed on time in order for the project to meet its required completion deadlines. The PERT chart displays each task in the project as a node. Interrelationships between tasks clearly show dependencies between tasks (for example, one task needs to complete another task before another task starts).

The PERT chart also displays time information for each task. It can document an entire project or key phases of a project, enabling teams to avoid unrealistic timelines and scheduling expectations. PERT charts can also help identify and shorten bottleneck tasks and focus attention on the most critical tasks. Project managers create PERT charts to analyze the tasks and minimum time required to complete the project.

What is PERT Chart trying to solve?

Projects that involve multiple people and multiple steps create the following problems:

  • What tasks need to be done to complete the project?
  • When and in what order are these tasks completed?
  • Who will complete each task?
  • What are intermediate deadlines (eg, status reports), and what actions will those deadlines take?

How to draw a PERT chart

You can design a PERT chart in several different ways. Traditional PERT diagrams (also known as activity diagrams on arrows) contain two distinct elements:

  • Nodes represent events or milestones in a project. You can use numbered circles or numbered boxes.
  • The arrows represent tasks. The direction of the arrows shows the order of the tasks. Downward arrows indicate that you can complete these tasks simultaneously.

Software development example description:

An example of a PERT chart for software development. You can draw PERT charts like this for any task management need. Let's take a closer look. In each task, there is a uniquely identified ID, as well as a scheduled start and end date, showing the scheduled date to start the task and its due date. The duration is automatically calculated based on the scheduled start and end date settings. Finally, using Swimlane allows for efficient division of tasks.

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