PERT Chart

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DEFINITION of 'PERT Chart'

A project management tool that provides a graphical representation of a project's timeline. PERT, or Program Evaluation Review Technique, was developed by the United States Navy for the Polaris submarine missile program in the 1950s. PERT charts allow the tasks in a particular project to be analyzed, with particular attention to the time required to complete each task, and the minimum time required to finish the entire project.

BREAKING DOWN 'PERT Chart'

A PERT chart is a graph that represents all of the tasks necessary to a project's completion, and the order in which they must be completed along with the corresponding time requirements. Certain tasks are dependent on serial tasks, which must be completed in a certain sequence. Tasks that are not dependent on the completion of other tasks are called parallel or concurrent tasks and can generally be worked on simultaneously. PERT charts are preferable to Gantt charts because they more clearly identify task dependencies; however, the PERT chart is often more challenging to interpret. As such, project managers frequently employ both methodologies.

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