Project Management As Developed in the 1950's Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Project Management

As developed in the 1950's by the U.S. Navy as a method to manage complex projects; the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) "is a network diagram that visually displays the activities and milestones which are required for project completion" ( N.D. PP. 1). The assembling of a PERT chart requires the compilation of all tasks related to implementing and completing a project, developing activity times and their proper order, and identifying the critical path; the absolute necessity for effective project management.

In terms of creating a timeline, what is meant by the critical path of a PERT chart?

The critical path is "the sequence of schedule activities that determines the duration of the project" (Makar, A. September 10, 2009. PP. 1). Whether a project is outlined in days, weeks, or even years the critical path "identifies the total calendar time required for a project" ( N.D. PP. 1). Arriving at the critical path begins with the calculation of each activity's duration and then subsequently identifying those which have zero slack or float time. "Slack is the amount of time a task can be delayed without impacting the start date of a subsequent task" (Makar, A. September 10, 2009. PP. 1). In essence the PERT chart's critical path highlights tasks which must be completed prior to any other tasks, in order for the project to remain on schedule and budget.

Zero float values are determined through use of the forward and backward pass methods and using latest finishing / earliest finishing times and latest start/earliest start times. Once calculated the critical path becomes merely a matter of lining up tasks which have zero float.

How would a manager go about prioritizing correction of the problem existing in B, C, or D?

In the assignment example, step B is determined as a critical path item while steps C. And D. are not. Understanding the importance of critical path necessitates that "if one of those tasks (on the path) is late by one day, then your project end date will be extended by one day" (Makar, A. September 10, 2009. PP. 1). Any project manager faces the dilemma of the triple constraint: the tradeoffs between performance, time, and cost. In regards to the aforementioned steps, the PM must concentrate their energies on step B to facilitate timely completion of the project overall. As a definitive rule; "if your project is falling behind, placing additional resources on activities that are off the critical path will not result in the overall project completing any earlier." (Mochal, T. September…

Sources Used in Document:


Makar, A. (September 10, 2009). Why Critical Path is Critical to Project

Management. Tech PP. 1. Retrieved July 2, 2012 from

Mochal, T. (September 27, 2005). Understand the Critical Path to Proactively

Manage your Project Work Plan. Tech PP. 1.

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