Program Evaluation and Review Technique

What Does Program Evaluation and Review Technique 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.

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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 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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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.