Project Management

What is Critical Path Analysis and PERT in Project Management?

Critical Path Analysis and PERT are effective methods for planning and managing large projects. The critical path method (CPM), also known as critical path analysis (CPA), is a scheduling technique for a group of project tasks. It’s frequently used in combination with the approach of program evaluation and review technique(PERT).

The longest stretch of dependent activities is identified, and the time necessary to perform them from start to finish is measured to establish the critical route. The critical path method, commonly known as CPM, is a useful technique for better scheduling and managing complicated projects, as well as the amount of time required for individual activities.

The CPM specifies the precise order and sequence of operations that will eventually define the project’s length. Since you can tackle project schedules on a job-by-task basis, visualize them in a flowchart, and then receive a relatively close estimate on the duration each individual action would take, this is very effective in managing projects with regions of overlap, long time consumption, and even delay.

History of Project Management

Managers have been looking for better methods to manage projects and enhance worker productivity since the Industrial Revolution. After working as a mechanical engineer for steel mills, Henry Gantt created his famous chart. Foremen and manufacturing floor managers could track progress and assess worker efficiency using the Gantt chart, which kept precise records of time assigned and spent.

Project management emerged as a field during the course of the twentieth century. PERT, Critical Path and Work Breakdown Models were popular in the 1950s. Critical Chain was first presented in the late 1990s.

The Agile Manifesto was written by a group of software professionals in Utah in 2001. All project management systems, according to the International Journal of Project Management, have two dimensions:

  • Tools and procedures – technical
  • Human – team members and their subject-matter expertise

Each factor has an impact on performance and productivity and may be arranged in a variety of ways. Project management evolves in tandem with technological advancements. While mechanical engineers needed more rigorous scheduling in the early 1900s, today’s software developers want greater flexibility and fast response.

Short tasks, daily stand-up meetings, and a free-form Scrum or Kanban board are the foundations of Agile. Tools and teams in other sectors are significantly different. We can better manage our own projects by considering the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

What is PERT in Project Management?

PERT stands for “Program Evaluation Review Technique,” and it was developed by the United States Navy in 1957 for the Polaris submarine missile program. Its emphasis on strict deadlines gave the production process much-needed efficiency.

PERT is organized on milestones, which are key dates. The final due date is the most critical milestone, and managers move backward from there. Employees must accomplish tasks in order to go from one milestone to the next.

The project manager distinguishes between activities that must be completed in a specific order, referred to as serial or dependent tasks, and those that may be completed simultaneously referred to as parallel or concurrent tasks.

The project is mapped out on a flowchart in a PERT chart, with the nodes representing deadlines or milestones and the arrows representing dependent tasks. The connected routes that travel from left to right reflect dependencies.

PERT’s approach to calculating deadlines was groundbreaking. To forecast likely due dates, a typical PERT analysis averages three distinct timelines — the shortest, most feasible, and worst-case scenarios.

Formula to Calculate Deadline

[Optimistic Time + (4 x Most Likely Time) + Pessimistic Time ] / 6

Advantage of using PERT analysis

  • Making deadlines that are unclear more predictable.
  • Tasks must be completed in a specific order.
  • Dependencies are now made clear.

Disadvantage of using PERT

  • Barriers. Any delay will cause a bottleneck and influence the ultimate delivery date if the calculations are incorrect.

PERT, on the other hand, may assist you to put up essential milestones and tasks to get you there if you’re trying to enhance the structure and minimize ambiguity in project planning.

PERT charts aren’t a magic bullet for getting your projects back on track. Inevitably, faulty data input will lead to terrible data output. It’s critical that the individual performing the PERT analysis has prior expertise with the method.

They’re also labor-intensive, which some businesses may not have the time or resources to devote to. Furthermore, you don’t just put together a PERT and call it a day. To ensure that they are correct, they must be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. You’ll need to make many versions of a PERT chart template if you’re utilizing one.


What is the difference between PERT and critical path?

Understanding how long a task will take is the primary distinction between PERT and Critical Path. Task durations are unpredictable with PERT, necessitating the use of a model to forecast time. Critical Path is better suited to projects with predictable task lengths, such as construction or big conferences.

The key characteristic of Critical Path is how it estimates the least project time by lining up the longest series of dependent activities required to finish the project. Critical Path Method (CPM), which was developed with PERT in the late 1950s, is based on a flowchart of events and activities.

Does PERT Show critical path?

The PERT chart highlights the critical route and estimates the amount of time required to complete all of a project’s activities. This is accomplished by looking at the project’s breakdown, calculating the time of each activity, their interdependencies, and the sequence in which they must be performed.

PERT charts assist project managers in keeping track of large projects. They’re useful since they provide you an estimate of how much time and resources will be needed to complete the project. The PERT chart’s nature and breakdown structure aid in visualizing a project’s complexity and the interdependencies between each phase in the process.

What are the factors on which PERT chart Depends?

PERT Chart mainly depends upon the 4 estimations. And to Calculate this, one must find these 4 estimations. The weighted average of three figures based on the most pessimistic (P), most optimistic (O), and most likely (M) predictions for the project’s length is used in a PERT graphic.

Optimistic Time: The shortest time it takes to complete a task or activity.

Pessimistic Time: The amount of time it takes to complete a task or activity in the most efficient way possible. This is the worst-case scenario; anything that has the potential to go wrong will.

Most Likely Time: The most accurate estimate of how much time it will take to complete the task or activity, assuming no complications.

Expected Time: If there are issues, the best estimate of how long it will take to complete the job or activity. This is the more realistic time frame.

[Optimistic Time + (4 x Most Likely Time) + Pessimistic Time ] / 6

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