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Activity Network (PERT) Chart

Activity Network and Project Evaluation and Review Technique, or PERT, charts are a way of documenting and analyzing the tasks in a project. They consist of a series of boxes representing tasks with arrows connecting them to show the flow from one task to another. Each box may include the name of the task, the names of those responsible for carrying the task out, and the time estimated to complete each task. This estimate may include a best time, a worst time, and the average of the two.

PERT Chart
Typical Uses

Activity Networks and PERT Charts are typically used to document complex projects in a visual manner. Elements such as expected time and actual time help viewers make adjustments, and reduce the occurrence of errors during the project. They are also used to establish the critical path of a project.

Best Practices
  • Determine the tasks. The first step in creating an Activity Network (PERT) chart is to establish what tasks are involved in the project.
  • Establish order. Using one of the accepted Activity Network (PERT) Chart objects, layout each task in the order which it will be completed during the project. Some find using a Gantt Chart helpful when doing this. Also, creating the chart can be made quick and easy using the Activity Network (PERT) Chart template offered by SmartDraw.
  • Establish the critical path. Draw arrows between the tasks to represent the critical path for the project. Any deviation from the critical path can cause delays or errors in the project.
  • Time. For each task, input the expected time, elapsed time (if known) and the lead time. Expected time is the amount of time the task is expected to take. Elapsed time is the amount of time the task actually took. Lead time is used to document the time needed before a task can be started. Alternatively, input the best (shortest) time, worst (longest) time, and the average of the two.
  • Review. Once the Activity (PERT) chart has been completed, the final step is to review and analyze the chart.

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