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Project Management Tools

~ By Duncan Haughey

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A Gantt chart, Logic Network, PERT chart, Product Breakdown Structure and Work Breakdown Structure are common tools used when planning a project. What follows is a definition for each:

Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart is a popular project management bar chart that tracks tasks across time. When first developed in 1917, the Gantt chart did not show the relationships between tasks. This has become common in current use, as both time and interdependencies between tasks are tracked.

Since their first introduction, Gantt charts have become an industry standard. They are an important project management tool used for showing the phases, tasks, milestones and resources needed as part of a project.

One of the first uses was on the Hoover Dam project started in 1931.

Logic Network

A Logic Network shows the sequence of activities in a project across time. It shows which activity logically precedes or follows another activity. It can be used to identify the milestones and critical path of a project. It will help you understand the dependencies in your project, timescale and its workflow. This technique can reveal important information that could otherwise be overlooked.

PERT Chart

The Program Evaluation and Review Technique commonly abbreviated PERT is a model for project management invented by United States Department of Defense's US Navy Special Projects Office in 1958 as part of the Polaris mobile submarine launched ballistic missile project.

PERT is a method for analysing the tasks involved in completing a given project, especially the time needed to complete each task and identifying the minimum time needed to complete the total project.

Product Breakdown Structure (PBS)

In project management, a Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) is an exhaustive, hierarchical tree structure of components that make up a project deliverable, arranged in whole-part relationship.

A PBS can help clarify what is to be delivered by the project and can help build a work breakdown structure.

The PRINCE2 project management method suggests the use of product based planning, part of which is developing a Product Breakdown Structure.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) created the Work Breakdown Structure concept as part of the Polaris mobile submarine launched ballistic missile project.

A Work Breakdown Structure is an exhaustive, hierarchical tree structure of deliverables and activities that need to be performed to complete a project. Work Breakdown Structure is a common project management tool and the basis for much project planning.


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