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PERT Chart

PERT Chart Definition

A PERT Chart, short for Program Evaluation and Review Technique Chart, is a project management tool that visually represents the tasks, dependencies, and timelines of a project in a graphical format.

What is a PERT Chart?

A PERT Chart is a visual representation of a project’s tasks and their interdependencies. It helps project managers and teams to plan, schedule, and track the progress of a project effectively.

How a PERT Chart Works?

A PERT Chart works by breaking down a project into individual tasks and organizing them in sequential order. Each task is represented by a node or box, and arrows indicate the dependencies between tasks. The chart also includes estimated durations for each task, allowing project managers to determine the critical path and identify potential bottlenecks.

How do I calculate PERT?

To calculate PERT, you need to estimate three-time estimates for each task: the optimistic time (O), the most likely time (M), and the pessimistic time (P). The PERT formula is then used to calculate the expected time (TE) for each task, which is TE = (O + 4M + P) / 6. By calculating the expected time for each task, project managers can estimate the overall project duration.

What Are the Steps to Create a PERT Chart?

To create a PERT Chart, follow these steps:

  1. Identify all the tasks required to complete the project.
  2. Determine the dependencies between tasks.
  3. Calculate the expected time for each task using the PERT formula.
  4. Organize the tasks in sequential order and represent them as nodes in the chart.
  5. Connect the tasks with arrows to indicate the dependencies.
  6. Determine the critical path and identify potential bottlenecks.
  7. Review and update the PERT Chart as the project progresses.

PERT Chart Examples

Let’s consider an example of building a website. The tasks involved in this project include designing the layout, developing the front-end and back-end, testing, and deployment. Each task would be represented as a node in the PERT Chart, and the arrows would indicate the dependencies between tasks. For instance, the testing task cannot start until the front-end and back-end development tasks are completed. By visualizing the project in this way, project managers can identify the critical path, which represents the longest sequence of dependent tasks and determines the project’s overall duration.

PERT Chart vs. Gantt Chart

While both PERT Charts and Gantt Charts are project management tools, they serve different purposes. A PERT Chart focuses on visualizing a project’s dependencies and critical path, while a Gantt Chart provides a timeline view of tasks, their durations, and their overlapping schedules. PERT Charts are usually represented through free-form diagrams, making them more suitable for complex projects with many interdependencies. Gantt Charts use bar graphs for simpler projects with well-defined tasks and timelines.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PERT Charts


  • Provides a visual representation of the project’s tasks and dependencies, making it easier to understand and communicate.
  • Helps identify the critical path and potential bottlenecks, allowing project managers to allocate resources effectively.
  • Facilitates effective project planning, scheduling, and tracking.
  • Disadvantages
  • Requires accurate time estimates for each task, which can be challenging.
  • May become complex and difficult to manage for large and highly interdependent projects.
  • Does not account for external factors or unexpected events that may impact the project timeline.

Wrap Up

A PERT Chart is a valuable project management tool that helps visualize and manage the tasks, dependencies, and timelines of a project. By using PERT Charts, project managers can effectively plan, schedule, and track the progress of their projects, leading to successful project completion.

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