PERT stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. It initially stood for Program Evaluation Research Task but was renamed after 1959. It is a statistical tool to analyze and understand the steps in finishing any project. Thus, it belongs to the domain of project management.
In 1958, the United States Navy created and developed it for the Polaris nuclear submarine project. PERT was especially useful in determining the time required to complete specific tasks and the fastest and slowest possible pace for the same.
It was very useful to the Navy when time was of the essence, and saving time was more important than avoiding or estimating costs. Over time it found applications in large-scale, complex projects and bigger development projects.
- PERT stands for Program Evaluation Review Technique, a project management tool for managing large and complex projects.
- PERT enables project managers to visually represent a project, identify critical activities, and estimate the time required to complete each task.
- With PERT, project managers can manage uncertainties and risks associated with a project, monitor project progress, and ensure the timely delivery of projects.
The Use of PERT
- This can be used in projects where the goals and steps are laid out. Even if that is not properly demarcated, the estimated time reflects the ideal case scenario.
- It is a practical technique as it factors uncertainties in any project.
- It can be fairly simplified for purposes of comprehension. The tool requires diagrams with nodes and arrows to be drawn up, in which the arrows are indicative of the next steps, and the nodes represent the finished portions of the project.
- Aside from project management, PERT can also be used in corporate or education sectors. Here efficiency can be increased quite a few times by feeding the available information and planning to save time and cost of production.
Components of PERT
- The Event is the point of the diagram that refers to the starting or point of completion of one or more tasks. This point of the diagram can be reached in practical use only when all the steps leading to it are complete.
- The Predecessor is any event before another without any other interconnected steps.
- The Successor is any event that follows another without any steps in between.
- PERT activity refers to the real activity or the performance that requires time, labour, and resources for completion.
- PERT also makes allowances for sub-activities, the smaller steps involved in a bigger event.
Aside from this, several provisions are made for the progression of time and its calculation.
Advantages of PERT
- It enables a better understanding and cost-effective planning of any project by clearly highlighting the steps involved.
- It facilitates better decision-making by diagrammatically representing the problems faced till completion.
- The interrelationships between cost, labour, and time can be clearly understood.
Disadvantages of PERT
- It is difficult to determine an exact singular plan of action when bigger projects are involved.
- If the networks become too interconnected and complex, the diagram becomes sprawling, messy, and difficult to interpret.
- Several subjective factors are involved in any project, making the whole process uncertain and inaccurate.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.