PERT method

PERT method

Like the Gantt chart, the PERT method makes it possible to assess the duration of a complex project and to detect the parts of this project that do not support any delay.

The task information is summarized in a schedule like the following example:

A, D
E, F

Step 1: construction of the graph from the timeline

  • PERT method - Determination of task levels:

We will assign the level 0 to tasks that have no previous task.

We will assign the level 1 to tasks whose previous tasks are level 0.

We will thus determine the level of each task: level tasks k + 1 will be the tasks whose previous tasks are lower level with at least one level k task among them.

We will build the graph by plotting the tasks in order of increasing level.

  • PERT method - Beginning, ending, convergent tasks:

Before embarking on the construction of the graph, it will often be useful to detect the so-called starting, ending or converging tasks.

Beginning tasks are tasks without a previous task, they start from the top 1 of the graph.
Completing tasks are tasks which are not a previous task, they arrive at the
terminal vertex of the graph.
Convergent tasks are tasks that we always meet together (ie never one without the other) in the previous tasks column; in the graph, they will have the same terminal vertex.
PERT critical path method
The ridge between 2 and 5 is called dummy task and is always of zero degree. Its purpose is to model the fact that the task TO must be completed to start the task F. The ridge between 1 and 2 means that the task TO starts as is 1 and ends as is 2.

It is important to place the tasks in order of execution. Task F can only be placed after the task TO and D placed, and the task D can only be placed after the task B. This explains the fictitious edge between 2 and 5 (TO and at a distance 1 while F is in the distance 3 from the start).

Step 2: determine the dates and margins

Once the graph has been constructed, we will determine the dates at the earliest and at the latest for the
different vertices and free and total margins for tasks.

  • PERT method - Earliest dates:
    For a summit, the earliest date (noted: t) represents the minimum time required to reach this peak. It will be determined step by step, in ascending order of vertex, from the entry of the graph, thanks to Ford's algorithm for finding the longest path.

Thereby :
t1 = 0 and tj = Max (ti + dij ) on all i preceding j withij = time between peak i and j.
In the example, t1 = 0, t2 = 0 + 6 = 6, t3 = 0 + 5 = 5, t4 = 6 + 4 = 10, t5 = max (6 + 0, 5 + 6) = 11, t6 = max (11 + 6, 10 + 5) = 17, t7 = 17+4 = 21.

The earliest date of the graph output represents the minimum duration achievable for
the whole project (in the example, t7= 21, so the project will last 21 days at best).

  • PERT method - Dates at the latest:
    For a summit, the latest date (noted: T) concretely represents the date on which this state must be reached if we do not want to increase the total duration of the project. It will be determined in a manner analogous to t, but in descending order of vertex, from the output of the graph to the input.

Thereby :
Tnot = tnot = Duration of the project and Ti = Min (Tj - dij ) on all j preceding i.
In the example, T7 = 21, T6 = 21 - 4 = 17, T5 = 17 - 6 = 11, T4 = 17 - 5 = 12, T3 = 11 - 6 = 5, T2 = min (11-0, 12-4) = 8, T1 = min (8-6, 5-5) = 0.
We will always have t1 = T1 = 0 and t less than or equal to T for any summit. We call Tt la
top float margin.

  • PERT method - Task margins:
    The free margin of a task represents the maximum possible delay of a task without delaying the start of subsequent tasks, note ML. The total margin of a task represents the maximum possible delay for the completion of a task without delaying the entire project, it will be noted MT : MLij = tj - ti - dij and MTij = Tj - ti - dij.

Taking into account the calculation mode, the margins will always be positive or zero and the free margin of a task will always be less than or equal to its total margin.

We will qualify as critical, a task whose total margin is zero. A critical task should not be delayed if you do not want to increase the total duration of the project.

If the duration of a non-critical task increases, part of this increase will be absorbed by the task margin, only the surplus will affect the duration of the project.

PERT critical path method


Vertices can contain several pieces of information at the same time:

PERT critical path method
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