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 The Role of PERT Charts and Gantt Charts for a Project Manager | PM Tools - PM Tools

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The Role of PERT Charts and Gantt Charts for a Project Manager

Performance, personnel and budget are the three types of schedules that project managers generally dread in any project management. Most of the time, performance schedules are the general foundation for other schedules because of their start and stop dates for all tasks. Allocation and spending for every task is covered in the cost schedule. Without a cost schedule it would be very difficult to budget the project. Management’s job is to observe everything and connect them all. To aid the Project Manager, PERT and Gantt charts help schedule projects. The Project Manager still has to separate the work into manageable segments before the analysis tools can be used. There are many tools to help the Project Manager in the completion of a project.

The Program Evaluation and Review Method, better known as PERT is a old method that was created in the 1950′s. PERT, an event scheduler which a network diagram consisting of numbered nodes representing events and tasks in the project. It is mainly used in navy,aerospace and other R&D projects where the duration and details of the activity is not exactly known.PERT used features from another project planning technique,Critical path method (CPM). This method consists of boxes (an activity) and arrows(connecting activities with labels on it) which helps the manager to get the time in control for each activity.Today, PERT systems have become a mix of both PERT AND CPM techniques.

Schedules at the task level generally use a linear format or bar chart. A Gantt chart is one of those. If you have to plot the time-phased requirements for task, personnel, and total project, these are the ones to use. Gantt charts are related to the PERT/CPM hybrids, but are much easier for a team to understand simply because they paint the critical paths and milestones for projects so clearly to the naked eye.

It is very important to understand what a Gantt chart does is you plan on using it. In Microsoft Project there is a Gantt chart generator. If your project has specific due dates, you can use the generator to plot milestones and important dates in the creation of the project. Although it is possible to do the same thing with a stacked bar chart in Excel, there are easy ways to do it. For whichever software you choose though, you must know when certain aspects of the project are to be completed and which aspects rely on getting other parts finished. Basically, you create a timeline for the must crucial events of the project and work backwards until everything fits together in the order that will yield a finished project on time.

Very often the project overruns even though the plans are perfect. The best way to handle this is to adjust the scheduling tools. Even if the software is very advanced, the human intelligence is required to make it work.

The best charts and software only provide some assistance and they are only as effective as the person who utilizes them. The Project Manager must have a clear comprehension of the project workflow.

Steve Wilheir is a management and marketing consultant. Consult these resources to learn more about Gantt Diagrams, Pert Charts, and Henry L. Gantt.
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