What is a PERT Chart?

A PERT Chart is a Tool that helps Organize, Prioritize and Relate the Different Tasks of a Project.

  • In a Visual way.

 

It consists of a Chart that Places the different tasks in Relation with each other.

  • The tasks involved in a certain Project.

 

Its name is an acronym for:

  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique”.

How to make a PERT Chart

1. Define the Starting Point and the Ultimate Goal.

  • What the Project wants to achieve and Where it Starts from.

 

2. Identify the Tasks that can be Developed in Parallel.

  • Tasks that do not depend on each other.

 

3. Identify the Tasks that Depend on each other.

  • Which Tasks need to be completed before others.

 

4. Estimate How Long it will take to complete each Task.

  • And Compare it to other Tasks.

 

5. Create a Diagram with all the Tasks and the Relationship between all of them.

  • The Estimated time is used to calculate the number of tasks that can be done in parallel.

 

PERT Chart Template.

 

Let’s now explain How these Activities can be Classified:

Sequential Activities - How to make a PERT Chart

 

Sequential Activities are those that have to be Carried out One by One.

  • Once one Activity (and just one) is over, you can start the next one.

 

Example

 

In the Image above, the Activity 3 and 5 are in a Sequence.

  • Once the Activity 1 is Completed, the Activity 3 can be Carried out.
  • And, once the Activity 3 is Completed, the Activity 5 can be Started.

 

They are in a “Linear” Disposition.

Parallel Activities - How to make a PERT Chart

 

These are the Activities that can be done at the same time.

  • Since they are completely independent of each other.

 

Therefore, they are usually developed in Parallel to save Time.

 

Example

 

As you can see, Activity 1 and 2 can be develop in parallel.

 

But, if you look closely, Activities 4 and 6 are also independent of each other.

  • Activity 6 don’t need Activity 4 to be completed to be Started.

That is why they don’t follow a Sequential (or Linear) disposition.

Conditional Activities - How to make a PERT Chart

 

These are the Activities that can only Start when 2 or more Activities finish.

  • Activities that have been developed in Parallel.

 

If one Activity has finished but the other hasn’t, the Conditional Activity can’t be carried out.

 

Example

 

In the Image above you can appreciate How Activity 6 can only be Started once Activities 2 and 5 have Finished.

 

That is why it is important to Properly Estimate the Time needed to perform all the Tasks.

  • Because you don’t want to waste time.

Now, you may be wondering about a similar Tool: Gantt Charts.

 

These two Tools are quite similar but.. Are they really the same?

  • Short Answer: No.

Difference between PERT and Gantt Charts

 

The Gantt chart shows the timetable for when the Activities have to take place.

 

On the other Hand, the PERT Chart shows the Relationship between the Different Activities.

  • With a Gantt Chart you can’t know the Relationship between 2 Activities.

 

With a PERT Chart you can Create a Gantt Chart but, with a Gantt Chart you can’t Create a PERT Chart.

  • You don’t have information about Conditional Activities.

 

The Gantt Chart explains when the Activities should be be Developed but you don’t know Why.

  • Or What Milestones are Related to what Activities.

 

* We recommend you to check our “Gantt Chart” Page if you are interested about it.

The best way to Understand PERT Charts and How they can be used is to share some examples with you.

PERT Chart Examples with Solutions

We have created 3 examples of common situations in which the PERT Chart can be of great help.

 

Let’s see what we can learn:

Opening a Restaurant - PERT Chart example

 

In this first example, we’ll imagine that you are Starting your own Restaurant.

  • Alone, or with a partner, it doesn’t matter.

 

Since this involves many tasks, you decide to prepare a PERT Chart:

PERT Chart example – Starting a Restaurant.

 

As you can see, only when you have everything Defined (the Menu, the Cookware and Staff) you will be able to Train your Employees.

Designing a Website - PERT Chart example

 

Now, we’ll imagine that you are a Website Designer.

  • You Create and Design Websites for money.

 

As you are a very Professional Person, you use PERT Charts to obtain the best Results in your Projects.

 

How do you use PERT Charts?

PERT Chart example – Designing a Website.

 

* “Templates” refer to ready-made Generic Sites that you have created to save you time and effort.

  • You make changes to them but, Menu, Headings, Styles… Are already done.

Getting a Promotion - PERT Chart example

 

Now, we’ll imagine that you want a Promotion.

  • You have been working very hard, and you are determined to get Promoted.

 

You decide to use a PERT Chart to improve your chances of success:

  • You want to be Promoted in two years, that is your Target.

PERT Chart example – Getting a Promotion.

 

As you can see, you take your Time to Learn What Skills and Tasks are Valued the most.

 

It is interesting that, only when you have obtained Feedback from your Boss (which is the most useful information to obtain a Promotion) you’ll be able to Improve your Skills and Tasks.

Summarizing

The PERT Chart is a Tool that helps to Organize and Prioritize the Different Tasks of a Project in a Visual way.

 

It consists of a Chart that Places the different tasks in Relation with each other.

 

How to make a PERT Chart:

  1. Define the Starting Point and the Ultimate Goal.
  2. Identify the Tasks that can be Developed in Parallel.
  3. Identify the Tasks that Depend on each other.
  4. Estimate How Long you will need to complete each task.
  5. Create a Diagram with all the Tasks related with each others.

 

Difference between Gantt and PERT Charts:

  • The Gantt chart shows the timetable for when the Activities have to take place.
  • The PERT Chart shows the Relations between the Different Activities.

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