Are you a project manager just getting started in the industry or an experienced one with several large-scale projects under your belt? Whatever the case, it’s best to keep yourself abreast of the latest project management tools to keep your project planning and execution skills sharp.
In this blog, we discuss two project management techniques, PERT and CPM, that will increase your project’s efficiency and planning. We dive into what these tools mean, how to use them and why you should use both together.
PERT, or Project Evaluations Review Technique, in project management, is a work planning process through which managers can identify how long it takes to complete a task. It is a statistical tool that visually charts out all required tasks that must be completed within a specific project. Through PERT, you can also identify the minimum time necessary to complete a task.
PERT was developed by the US Navy in 1958 to manage their special submarine missile program. However, the tool is frequently used by project management teams to simplify and reduce the risk associated with projects.
Managers need tools to help them manage a project and PERT is one of those tools. Other benefits of using PERT are:
But, probably, the best part of PERT is that managers can use it even if they have minimal project schedule data. Lastly, PERT is a great decision making tool for managers as it helps them evaluate where and which resources are needed for current and future projects.
The focus of PERT methodology is on time — if time is controlled, project costs will be minimised as well.
To use PERT you need to:
PERT methodology uses three points to calculate a weighted time average for events in a project:
Critical Path Mode (CPM) is a step-by-step project management technique that helps identify the longest sequence of activities that must be completed for a project to be considered “done.” A manager can identify the domino effect that will occur if one task gets delayed by using CPM.
CPM, like PERT, was developed in the late 1950s, as a technique to reduce scheduling inefficiencies and lower project costs. CPM gained popularity in the project management field because it allows teams to break down large projects into bite-sized, actionable steps.
Some reasons why you should consider using CPM technique include:
To be able to take advantage of CPM, you need to know how to perform it. Use our step-by-step guide on calculating CPM for your next project.
While both PERT and CPM are techniques that can lead to effective scheduling and project management, they aren’t the same. We’ve highlighted the differences between the tool metrics in the following table.
|Type of Tool||Visual Tool||Statistical Tool|
|What it Controls||Controls time management||Controls costs and time|
|Best Use Scenario||Ideal for research and product development projects Used with tasks are non-repetitive||Ideal for construction or manufacturing processes Used with tasks are repetitive|
|Methodology||Uses a three-point methodology to estimate time PERT is calculated based on weighted time for events||Uses one single methodology to estimate time and cost CPM is focused on activities and highlights interdepencies|
What should you use? PERT or CPM? The reality is that PERT and CPM are complementary tools. If you want the best results and most accurate planning for your project, you should know how to use them together.
Here’s an example of how you can use both together. Suppose you have to construct your home. Using PERT, outline the overall project path. Now, if you need the house sooner than expected, use the CPM technique to identify the critical path and reduce the overall time required for the project. In this case, you might realise that the civil work is part of the critical path and is possibly taking the most time to complete. With this knowledge, you can reduce the time required for civil work by speaking to the contractors or increasing manpower.
Using templates or Excel to perform CPM and PERT analysis can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Work planning and resource planning tools can make this step faster. eRS is an end-to-end resource planning software that will aid you in project planning and execution.
eRS can help you identify the right resources, build capacity plans, and identify the best and most cost-effective process for global projects. Our software is used by over 500 customers and we would love to be your trusted resource planning partner. To stay ahead of the pack, start our no-commitment, free 14-day trial today.