There are many tools and techniques in the project management paradigm that help in the planning and coordination of resources and tasks. One incredible tool that is making the headlines is the PERT chart.
In this article, we will talk about what a PERT chart is and why the project managers of the organizational paradigm use it so often.
Furthermore, we will talk about the amazing Gantt charts that we use every day for our project management activities and the difference between Gantt and PERT charts. Let’s begin.
PERT stands for the Project Evaluation and Review Technique. Well, that doesn’t explain the full story, does it? Let us explain. A PERT Chart is a project management tool that graphically represents the tasks, terms, and dependencies associated with a project.
The chart basically looks like a network diagram where every separate box or nod is a project task. The dependencies between all of the different tasks are shown with arrows.
With all these dependencies and task associations, a PERT chart sounds like a project roadmap, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how the famous American engineer and management consultant, Harold Kerzner puts it in his book. He says:
“PERT chart can be easily considered as a roadmap for a particular program or project, where all the major elements (or events) have been completely identified, along with their corresponding inter-relations.”
What is the PERT chart used for?
The PERT chart has been in use since the late ’50s. It is an incredible tool that allows you to plan and determine different tasks for your projects. It also helps you to set a realistic timeframe to complete your project development process in its entirety.
In general, this chart helps the manager to complete their project plans on time and also helps them to accurately estimate the amount of work it’s going to take at the project planning stage.
This tool also helps you to find the critical path to perform the project development process. To do so, you need to create the chain of tasks that is going to take the longest to complete, and from there you can make your way back towards the critical path.
When PERT should be used?
Here are two instances where a PERT chart should be used by the project managers:
- The first instance is when your project plan has many different tasks being worked on at the same time, and this chart with ease all of the prioritization processes that help you understand the dependency that every task has on one another.
- As you know that this chart is not only a visual representation of the structure of your project, rather it is also an extremely helpful tool to evaluate the duration of a project.
It also allows you to set up your terms for the projects, so that you may stick to them and track the tasks whose completion affects the project realization within the appropriate duration.
Let’s take a look at the Gantt chart now and find out how it is different from the PERT chart.
Gantt charts are also an amazing tool for all those project managers out there that want to see their projects and all the related tasks and processes in a different and detailed view.
This chart consists of two different axes. They are:
- A horizontal axis shows a project plan’s timeline. In it, there are different bars with tasks that are placed in chronological order to explain things better to the user.
- The second is a vertical axis which shows the list of all of the tasks that the project development team has to complete in order to successfully execute the project development process.
If you want to check out an amazing Gantt chart, try out the project management software called nTask. The application has an incredibly detailed Gantt chart feature that provides extreme clarity regarding tasks overall, and the task dependencies upon each other.
What is Gantt used for?
Here is a list of reasons why Gantt charts are used by project managers in the organizational paradigm.
- They are used to manage all of the tasks related to the project development process and all of the milestones that the team has to work on.
- They are also used to manage the start and end dates of the projects so that the managers can plan the activities according to them.
- They can help increase the productivity of the project development process.
- They make the workflow of the entire project development process more transparent.
- They can help control the workload so that the resource pool is not exhausted.
- They keep the managers notified about any impending deadlines related to the project.
- They can also help in assessing the risks related to the project and also in eliminating them on time so that there are no issues in the future.
When Gantt chart should be used?
The project managers that use Gantt charts, use them because they want to see the project and all of the related tasks and processes in a bigger picture. They also want to create and assign different tasks, manage the resources of the resource pool, run budgets, and do many other things.
Furthermore, this chart or visualization is important because it keeps everyone related to the project, in check and on track, and the manager has constant access to the project’s schedule and details while using it.
In other words, Gantt charts help the project managers to achieve the best results in the project development process.
PERT chart vs. Gantt chart
The main difference that exists between these two amazing project management tools is the way they visualize the information of the project. Let’s take a look at some of the other differences between them.
- PERT as you know is a free-form diagram whereas Gantt charts are more bulky bar graphs that visualize information differently.
- PERT chart helps to measure the duration of the project development process and also helps to identify dependencies between the project plans tasks. Whereas a Gantt chart is crucial for spotting bottlenecks in the project development process and helps you to stay true to your course.
- PERT charts are used in the early planning stages of the project, whereas Gantt charts are used when a project is being developed.
- PERT charts are used in mid-sized and large projects, whereas Gantt charts are more suitable for smaller projects.
PERT chart vs Gantt chart: Which one is better?
Although both visual tools have their advantages and are equally helpful in representing project cycles, here are a few pointers that will help you identify the advantages both tools have to offer:
- PERT charts are network diagrams and are, as such, a better option when you want to showcase dependencies between different tasks.
- In terms of complexity, PERT charts tend to be more complicated than Gantt charts. The more complex a project is, the more complicated a PERT chart gets. Gantt charts, in comparison, are much easier to read.
- Since PERT charts are used in the planning stages, they are not of much help in the later stages. Gantt charts, in contrast, not only help with monitoring and tracking but play a critical role in improving productivity and efficiency as well.
- Gantt charts tend to be more flexible than the others and can be altered midway to accommodate changes for better results.
- Both tools can be utilized to analyze the critical path i.e. the minimum duration of a project cycle. However, considering the complexity involved and the accuracy needed, PERT charts are usually a better option.
Having clarity on the advantages of the PERT chart vs the Gantt chart will help you make a better decision for your business. Once you have determined which tool suits your business best and how it functions, you can optimally utilize its best features to improve your business by leaps and bounds.
This was a short comparison guide to highlight the differences between Gantt charts and PERT charts. If you think that we missed something or if we mentioned something factually incorrect, then write to us and you will hear back from us ASAP.