Pert Chart: The Ultimate Guide to Using Pert Charts

When you're the person in charge of managing a project even a small one, you know there are a lot of tasks to get done and some items depend on the completion of others. You can't mail out marketing materials until the designers design them and the printing department prints them. 

With so many moving parts in a project, it's easy for one or two items to get missed. This makes it essential that you have a way to see each task, so you easily identify any items that are falling behind or are overlooked.

A PERT chart might be the answer to your problems. This guide helps you understand the importance of PERT charts, so you can put them to work for you.

What is a PERT chart

A Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) chart is a chart that helps you visualize the tasks that need to be done to complete a project and how certain tasks are dependent upon the completion of others. In 1957, the U.S. Navy's Special Projects Office created the first PERT chart to help guide the program to build the Polaris nuclear submarine.

A PERT chart can help you break down each task and analyze the steps needed to complete it and the components within it. The chart typically uses circles and triangles to designate milestones and tasks within the project. It also uses lines to highlight the interdependency of tasks for completion. 

You might be using a Gantt chart already. However, the PERT chart is a superior option because it provides you with a visual representation of how one task relies on the completion of others to complete. Depending on your understanding of charts, it might seem confusing at first but offers many benefits over a Gantt chart.

How to make a PERT chart

When you're ready to try out a PERT chart, you might wonder how to do it. Of course, there's software available that can make the job much easier, or you can create a PERT chart by hand on a whiteboard or poster. Here are a few steps for making a PERT chart that you can adapt to your project's needs:

  1. Determine the milestones and tasks involved to reach one. Create a list of them. 
  2. Determine the sequence of each task and the order of the milestones.
  3. Identify how long each task should take to accomplish. 
  4. Using your list, outline your PERT diagram with circles and triangles.
  5. Create your critical path. 
  6. As new information occurs and timelines change, update the PERT chart to reflect these changes. 

While you might want to do your first couple of PERT charts by hand, once you get the hang of it and know it's a good fit for you, you'll want to invest in software.

PERT chart software

There are many options out there when it comes to selecting PERT software. However, you need to choose the software program or app that's right for you and your needs.

It's always a good idea when purchasing new software to set a budget. You can find PERT software at all price points, so it's best to set a budget and find the best option within your company's budget.

You also need to consider the features that you need. There is software out there with a list of features a mile long, but you only need a handful of them. Also, you want software that's easy for you to use based on your experience.

Conclusion

A PERT chart can help you more easily manage a project. It helps you see the tasks that are dependent on others' completion. Using a PERT chart, you can determine the milestones of a project and determine if you're on course to meet them. MindManager offers the PERT chart software you need to whip one up in minutes and adjust as needed.

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