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Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

Definition - What does Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) mean?

Program evaluation and review technique (PERT) is a technique adopted by organizations to analyze and represent the activity in a project, and to illustrate the flow of events in a project. PERT is a method to evaluate and estimate the time required to complete a task within deadlines.

PERT serves as an management tool to analyze, define and integrate events. PERT also illustrates the activities and interdependencies in a project. The main goal of PERT is to reduce the cost and time needed to complete a project.

Techopedia explains Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

PERT was developed in 1950 by the U.S. Navy during the Cold War and is intended for large projects, which are:

  • Complex
  • Require a series of sequential tasks
  • Performed in parallel with other projects

PERT planning usually involves the following steps:

  1. Identifying Tasks and Milestones: Every project involves a series of required tasks. These tasks are listed in a table allowing additional information on sequence and timing to be added later.
  2. Placing the Tasks in a Proper Sequence: The tasks are analyzed and placed in a sequence to get the desired results.
  3. Network Diagramming: A network diagram is drawn using the activity sequence data showing the sequence of serial and parallel activities.
  4. Time Estimating: This is the time required to carry out each activity, in three parts:
    1. Optimistic timing: The shortest time to complete an activity
    2. Most likely timing: The completion time having the highest probability
    3. Pessimistic timing: The longest time to complete an activity
  5. Critical Path Estimating: This determines the total time required to complete a project.

PERT not only determines the time to complete a specific software development activity, but also determines the cost.

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