What is PERT?PERT is also known as the Program (or Project) Evaluation and Review Technique. For those who wish to know what is PERT, it is a project management model which basically works towards analysis and representation of the tasks that are a part of any given project. More specifically, PERT looks into analyzing the different tasks which are included in a project in order to estimate the time frames needed to complete each one. This in turn enables a project manager to determine the minimum time requirements for the entire project management life cycle to be completed.
As a result PERT tends to be heavily used in large-scale, one-time infrastructure and Research and Development projects where the time factor holds greater relevance than the inherent costs; and proves to be a valuable tool to reduce the redundancy in projects which involve multi-tasking.
TipThe PERT model incorporates uncertainties as well and therefore it would be beneficial if applying it for scheduling a project, where the exact details and durations of whose activities are not known.
1.0 Basic Terminology Used In PERTSome extremely specific terms are utilized in PERT, and these must be understood in order to effectively utilize this methodology. These include:
1.1 PERT EventThis is a point at which one or more activities find initiation or completion. It is said to be ‘reached’ when all the activities that mark an event’s completion are finished upon.
1.2 Predecessor EventThis refers to an event that immediately precedes another without any other events as breaks amongst them.
1.3 Successor EventThis is an event which immediately follows another event without any intermittency.
1.4 PERT ActivityThis is the act of actually performing a task and involves time, resources and effort put in into each individual event.
1.5 Critical PathThis is the longest possible pathway from the initial to the final event.
1.6 Fast TrackingThis refers to carrying out critical activities simultaneously.
1.7 Crashing Critical PathThis denotes cutting out on the duration of critical activities.
Knowledge of several time references like the ones listed below also aid in understanding ‘what is PERT’ better:
1.8 Optimistic TimeThis is the minimum time requirement for a task completion.
1.9 Pessimistic TimeThis is the maximum time to which a task completion could stretch to in the worst scenario.
1.10 Most Likely TimeThis is the estimated time required for a task’s completion, if everything goes as planned.
1.11 Expected TimeThis is the average time required for a task’s completion in case it needs to be repeated at several occasions in the course of project.
1.12 Slack or FloatThis is generally referred to is the time frame in which a task can be completed without any delays.
1.13 Lag TimeThis is the minimal time in which one even can be shifted from to the next.
1.14 TipAn important aspect in understanding what is PERT, is that the model involves arrangement of activities in a logical sequence which must be strictly adhered to. So an activity listed first in the PERT planner must be completed before proceeding onto the next.
2.0 Advantages of PERT’s IntroductionOne you are acquainted with what is PERT; it would make sense to know how the model actually helps in project management. Take a look at how it proves advantageous:
3.0 Advantages of PERT’s IntroductionAn understanding of what is PERT would be incomplete without the mention of the inherent disadvantages of appropriating the model. Some common disadvantages that have been reported so far are:
I am sure the question of what is PERT would have been aptly resolved by now. The following bonus tip could however be of added help.
What is PERT? - Tip
Whilst PERT is a largely successful model; its appropriation in real life has to involve proactive scheduling, wherein an adequate contingency approach in the baseline schedule is included. Otherwise the project would not execute as planned because of project risks such as human errors, unexpected events or some other similar unplanned situations.
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