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Project management

With complex projects, time is critically important. In real estate development, owners can’t start renting space to tenants until construction is finished. Manufacturers cannot sell a product until it rolls off the assembly line. This makes it imperative for project managers to know how long it will take to finish each task, as well as the dependencies among tasks. To accurately estimate and account for uncertainties around time, the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)  was developed.  

While the ordinary word “pert” conjures up things that are cute, perky, and small, PERT project management was conceived to deal with those messy and complex initiatives that can become runaway nightmares without proper controls. Often, PERT is used in projects where time is a more important factor than cost. For example, organizers of the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France used PERT, as did critical parts of the Apollo project to send a man to the moon. 

The PERT method is often used with one-of-a-kind projects, especially those involving unpredictable activities or a large component of research and development, and it was designed to help generate highly accurate time estimates. This guide covers everything you need to know about PERT, including how it compares to another closely related project management tool called Critical Path Method (CPM). Use our quick PERT estimate calculator to easily get time forecasts. Plus you’ll find templates for PERT charts, so you can easily implement this technique on your own projects.