There is nothing like the stress of missing a deadline and letting down your stakeholders. Missing deadlines cost your business money and can prevent you from moving on to your next project. Therefore, accurately estimating a project’s time, effort, and cost is one of the most critical aspects of project management. Program evaluation and review technique (PERT) will undoubtedly help you if you are looking to improve your project estimates. Mike Clayton explains how PERT makes project estimation more reliable in this article at Online PM Courses.
Project Estimates: How Does PERT Work?
With origins in the US Navy in the 1950s, PERT was used to analyze the Ballistic Missile project. The technique ensured that the project ended two years earlier than estimated. Since then, the methodology has been used in many big and complex projects. PERT helps managers achieve their project goals by identifying the duration of each task, even when uncertainties exist.
As a manager, accurate project estimates enable you to make critical decisions. Your customers and team will have more realistic expectations before the project begins. Furthermore, this will result in greater customer satisfaction.
Calculating Project Estimates Based on PERT
The basic PERT formula for project estimation is:
(Minimum + 4 x (Most Likely) + Maximum ÷ 6)
Minimum is the shortest time duration or cost estimate for a project’s completion. When estimating time or cost, choose the best-case scenario.Most Likely is the best estimate of the duration or cost. This can be your prediction or average time, or cost estimation for your project. You must remember that not everything goes according to plan. However, it is also not your worst-case scenario.Maximum represents the worst-case scenario. Sometimes, you may not be able to execute tasks as planned. You may have to derail a project for months due to external factors outside your control.
Pros of PERT for Project Estimates
Boosts project efficiencyReduces business costsResults in higher job satisfactionOffers precise data for easier project decision-making
Cons of PERT
This method is not without its faults. Some possible disadvantages are given below.
The technique is inaccurate for small projects.Minimum, most likely, and maximum values are subjective.PERT can be hard to calculate on massive projects with many variables.
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