Critical Path Analysis And Pert Charts Pdf


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Program evaluation and review technique

CPM is a step-by-step project management technique to identify activities on the critical path. The approach breaks a project into work tasks, displays them in a flow chart, and then calculates the project duration based on estimated time frames for each. It identifies tasks that are critical, time-wise. If there is a delay in any task on the critical path, then your whole project will be delayed. Although many projects have only one critical path, some projects may have multiple critical paths.

Use this information to figure out the project's end date. There are some tasks that don't immediately impact the project's end date that can be pushed back for some time. There are a whole bunch of calculations that go into figuring out what-ifs, forecasting, and scheduling, but that's where project management software comes in and makes everyone's lives easier.

For example, if you tried to make a fried breakfast by doing one task at a time, and one after the other, things would go wrong. The plates need to be warming while other activities are going on.

The toast needs to be toasting while the sausages are frying, and at the same time the bacon and sausages are under the grill. The eggs need to be fried last. A critical path analysis is a diagrammatical representation of what needs to be done and when. Timescales and costs can be applied to each activity and resource. Smartsheet is a cloud-based platform that allows teams and organizations to plan, manage, and report on projects, helping you move faster and achieve more.

See Smartsheet in action. Watch a free demo. Bennett is no stranger to critical path. He has applied critical path scheduling to a wide variety of projects since He has also spent 29 years on the engineering faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in technical management, including project management and scheduling. Bennett points out that critical path has come a long way. In fact, the original critical path method was done by hand.

As Dr. Bennett describes it:. This approach persisted for a decade, when a different method, with the same results, became popular. Professor John W. Fondahl, a professor of construction management at Stanford University, proposed in a paper that each task be represented by a node — square, circle, or oval — and the nodes be tied together with lines or arrows representing the sequence between tasks.

This approach, referred to as the activity-on-node AON or precedence method, caught on rapidly and has supplanted the earlier activity-on-arrow AOA method in nearly all uses. Using the critical path method to schedule projects began in the late s, with two simultaneous, unrelated projects. The suggested solution was to divide the project into several thousand tasks, represent each task by an arrow, connect the arrows in proper sequence, estimate the duration of each task, and calculate the project duration and the degree of schedule criticality of each task.

At about the same time, the EI DuPont de Nemours Company, an American chemical company, was experiencing delays in its plant turnarounds, a project to rearrange production facilities for different products. They, too, needed help and the proposed answer was similar to that of the Polaris Program. Although these methods are similar, they used different techniques for estimating task duration.

The PERT method used three different time estimations for each task duration and calculated the probability of project completion by any given time. The DuPont approach used one time duration for each task; it was concerned not only with project completion time, but also with analyzing the extra costs that would accrue if the project duration were decreased.

Although it originated in the late s, critical path is still incredibly important to project managers today. The critical path method also reduces uncertainty because you must calculate the shortest and longest time of completion of each activity. This forces you to consider unexpected factors that may impact your tasks and reduces the likelihood that an unexpected surprise will occur during your project. According to Dr. Bennett, the critical path method also has three main benefits for project managers:.

With so much activity, the critical path enables a clear, pointed view of what must happen next and 'who is on the clock' for meeting project commitments. CP analysis also often leads to better prioritization and redistribution of team-members. It is a visual depiction of the fragility of the balance of your constraints: If one of the activities on the path gets delayed, your project gets delayed.

It is also a great way to determine where to invest resources if the project has fallen behind schedule. Using the work breakdown structure, you need to identify each activity or task involved in the project.

This activity specification list should only include higher-level activities. When detailed activities are used, the critical path analysis may become too complex to manage and maintain. The first step is to identify the main deliverables of a project. Then you can start breaking down the high-level activities into smaller chunks of work. You can choose how to display your work breakdown structure.

Some people use a tree structure, while others use lists or tables. An outline is one of the easiest ways to represent a work breakdown structure. Some activities will depend on the completion of others. Listing the immediate predecessors of each activity will help you identify the correct order. To correctly identify activities and their precedence, ask yourself these three questions for each activity on your list from step one:.

The network diagram is a visual representation of the order of your activities based on dependencies. This critical path diagram used to be drawn by-hand, but there are now software programs that can create this diagram for you. Using past experience or the knowledge of an experienced team member, you must now estimate the time required to complete each activity.

If you are managing a smaller project, you will most likely estimate time in days. If you are working with a complex project, you may have to measure time in weeks. In three-point estimation, you must come up with three time estimates for every task, based on prior experience or best guesses. The estimation method is presented in formulas in order to calculate the time duration more accurately. These three values identify what happens in an optimal state, what is the most likely, and what happens in the worst case scenario.

The formula is as below. E stands for Estimate, and the 4 and 6 represent the standard method to place more weight on the most realistic value. The second way of using these values is known as Triangular Distribution. E stands for Estimate, and the 3 represents the standard method. There are two ways you can now identify the critical path. You can eyeball your network diagram and simply identify the longest path throughout the network -- the longest sequence of activities on the path.

Be sure to look for the longest path in terms of longest duration in days, not the path with the most boxes or nodes. If you have multiple critical paths, you will run into network sensitivity. A project schedule is considered sensitive if the critical path is likely to change once the project begins. The more critical paths in a project, the higher the probability of a change in schedule. As the project progresses, you will learn the actual activity completion times. The network diagram can then be updated to include this information rather than continuing to use estimations.

By updating the network diagram as new information emerges, you may recalculate a different critical path. You will also have a more realistic view of the project completion due date and will be able to tell if you are on track or falling behind. There are two ways to do this: fast tracking or crashing. In fast tracking, you look at the critical path and decide which activities can be done parallel to each other, to move the project along faster.

While fast tracking reduces your project timeframe, it also involves risk because you are performing parallel activities that were originally planned to be performed in sequence. Crash duration, or crashing, refers to the shortest possible time for which an activity can be scheduled.

This happens by adding more resources to completing that certain activity. However, crashing the critical path results in lower quality of work because the goal in crash duration is speed.

As you manage your project, you may also run into resource constraint issues that could change the critical path. If you try to schedule certain activities at the same time, you may find that you need more people than are available. As a result, those activities will need to be rescheduled. Resource leveling is the process of resolving these conflicts.

With resource leveling, you can resolve conflicts over allocating resources. A resource-leveled schedule may include delays due from resource bottlenecks a resource being unavailable at the necessary time. This happens when the tasks on the critical path are affected by resource constraints. A similar concept is called the critical chain, which protects activity and project durations from unexpected delays due to resource constraints. These scenarios demonstrate all the unexpected changes that can occur when managing a project, and how they can affect the critical path.

While things are always subject to change, the good news is that you can measure the variance from your original project schedule and track how it impacted your final project. A schedule created from the critical path method naturally involves a lot of fluctuation because you have to use best-guess estimates to calculate time.

If one mistake is made in activity completion time, your whole critical path schedule could change. Or, you may need to purposefully delay project activities due to resource constraints. Sorting out these delays and determining what caused them can help you avoid similar issues in the future. An important part of your post-project plan is the As Built Critical Path, which analyzes the specific causes and impacts of changes between the planned schedule and actual schedule implemented.

The As-Built Critical Path is a schedule that shows the dates that the activities actually occurred and allocates time by determining the responsibility for the delays on the critical path.

Critical Path Method and PERT Charts

The Program Evaluation Review Technique PERT Chart helps you diagram workflows, milestones, schedules, timetables, critical paths, and other planning requirements for a project. PERT is a method to analyze the involved tasks in completing a given project, especially the time needed to complete each task, and identifying the minimum time needed to complete the total project. Edraw Max is a vector-based diagramming software with rich examples and templates. It has the tools to make it easy to Create PERT charts for project or task management, timetables, work breakdown structures, critical path method, project lifecycles, goal setting, schedules and agendas. PERT Chart template lets you create great-looking charts quickly using its built-in symbol elements.

CPM is a step-by-step project management technique to identify activities on the critical path. The approach breaks a project into work tasks, displays them in a flow chart, and then calculates the project duration based on estimated time frames for each. It identifies tasks that are critical, time-wise. If there is a delay in any task on the critical path, then your whole project will be delayed. Although many projects have only one critical path, some projects may have multiple critical paths. Use this information to figure out the project's end date.

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How to Use a PERT Chart for Project Planning

PERT charts : Utilized before a project begins to plan and determine the duration of each task. Gantt charts : Used while a project is happening to break projects into smaller tasks and highlight scheduling constraints. Two of the most useful diagrams are PERT and Gantt charts—but it can be difficult to know which chart to use and when since both PERT and Gantt charts help you visualize and manage your projects. This post outlines the differences between PERT and Gantt charts including when it's appropriate to use each chart and how you can make your own.

Advantages of PERT charts vs. Gantt charts

The program or project evaluation and review technique PERT is a statistical tool used in project management , which was designed to analyze and represent the tasks involved in completing a given project. First developed by the United States Navy in , it is commonly used in conjunction with the critical path method CPM that was introduced in PERT is a method of analyzing the tasks involved in completing a given project, especially the time needed to complete each task, and to identify the minimum time needed to complete the total project.

Program evaluation and review technique

Due to the critical nature of some project objectives, a small business implements controls to make sure projects are successfully completed. One such control mechanism is the Program Evaluation and Review Technique , a program network analysis method used to plan and control large projects, including performance improvement efforts. A project manager arranges the activities of a new project — one without historic precedent — in a diagram, or program network, estimating the time and resources needed to complete each project activity.

A visual workspace for diagramming, data visualization, and collaboration. International compliance, privacy, and security standards you can trust. A virtual whiteboard that helps you and your team collaborate to bring the best ideas to light. Collaborate as a team anytime, anywhere to improve productivity. Plan projects, build road maps, and launch products successfully. Identify gaps, pinpoint inefficiencies, and mitigate risk in your workflows.

Most project managers are familiar with Agile and the Scrum Board. Agile works for fast-moving startup teams that need to deliver new products constantly. While Agile has many benefits, it is only one of several ways to manage a project. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, managers have been seeking better ways to manage projects and increase worker productivity. Henry Gantt came up with his famous chart after working as a mechanical engineer for steel manufacturers.


As with Gantt Charts, Critical Path Analysis (CPA) helps you to lay out all tasks that must be completed as part of a project. They act as the basis both for.


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