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Glossary

PERT Chart

Summary

The PERT chart (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) is an effective project management tool used for planning, organizing, and controlling projects. It graphically represents the timing sequences and dependencies of various project activities, thus allowing for a better overview, analysis, and optimization of project planning. By using a PERT chart, project managers can better assess risks and uncertainties and take appropriate measures to successfully complete projects.

A PERT chart (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) is a project management tool used for planning, organizing, and controlling projects. It was first developed in the United States in the 1950s and has since become a widely used and recognized tool in project planning. The PERT chart graphically represents the timing sequences and dependencies of various project activities, thus allowing for a better overview, analysis, and optimization of project planning.

Basics and Terminology

A PERT chart consists of the following elements:

       
  • Nodes: The nodes represent the individual activities or events within a project. They are usually depicted by circles or rectangles.
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  • Arrows: The arrows represent the temporal dependencies between the nodes. Arrows connect the nodes, thus indicating the flow of activities.
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  • Path: A path is a sequence of arrows and nodes that describes the progression of activities within a project.
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  • Critical Path: The critical path is the longest path within the PERT chart and thus determines the overall duration of the project. It represents the activities that are most time-critical and where delays directly affect the project duration.

Application and Benefits

The use of a PERT chart offers numerous advantages for project planning and management:

       
  • Clarity: The graphical representation of the sequences and dependencies within a project achieves better overview and understanding of the project structure.
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  • Scheduling: The PERT chart allows for detailed planning of timing sequences and resource allocation. This enables managers to better identify bottlenecks, delays, and buffer times and to plan accordingly.
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  • Risk Management: By analyzing the critical paths and associated uncertainties, project risks can be identified early and appropriate measures can be taken.
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  • Communication: PERT charts facilitate communication and coordination among project participants, as they visually illustrate the project structure and processes.
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  • Optimization: The identification of critical paths and bottlenecks allows for targeted optimization of project duration and resource use.

Creating a PERT Chart

The creation of a PERT chart is carried out in several steps:

       
  1. Defining activities and events: First, the individual activities and events that occur within the project are identified and defined.
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  3. Establishing dependencies: In the next step, the temporal dependencies between the activities are determined and established.
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  5. Conducting scheduling: For each activity, the required time and resources needed for completion are estimated.
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  7. Creating the PERT chart: Based on the defined activities, dependencies, and schedules, the PERT chart is created. Nodes and arrows are connected according to the dependencies.
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  9. Identifying critical paths: By analyzing the PERT chart, critical paths and bottlenecks that influence the project duration are identified.
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  11. Optimization and adjustment: Based on the analysis of the PERT chart, targeted optimization measures are carried out, and the project plan is adjusted.

Software and Tools

There are various software tools and applications that can assist in the creation and analysis of PERT charts. These include:

       
  • Microsoft Project
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  • Primavera P6
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  • OpenProj
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  • ProjectLibre
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  • Smartsheet
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  • GanttProject

Conclusion

A PERT chart is an effective and widely used project management tool that supports the planning, organization, and control of projects. By graphically representing the timing sequences and dependencies of project activities, project managers can better assess risks and uncertainties and take appropriate measures to successfully complete projects. The use of a PERT chart thus constitutes an important component of modern project planning.