3 Best Graphs For Every Project And How To Interpret Their Data

Gantt Chart

One of the important graphs or charts that are used in project management are the Gantt charts. The Gantt charts are often used to provide work schedules for the project. The Gantt charts usually show the dependencies associated with the tasks, the beginning and finish times of the various tasks related to the project. The charts are instrumental in providing a reference frame in association with the various tasks that are to be done in the project and that the team members can easily understand (Ika, 2009). Gantt charts provide great help to project managers, especially where they assist them in coming up with plans for the various activities associated with the project, communicate tasks to the project team and calculating a critical path. The Gantt charts are most appropriate for smaller projects since in the case of larger projects they are limited. The Gantt charts can further show which activities are lagging and further help the project manager determine what actions he or she can take in term of a crisis caused by  insufficient resources.

PERT Chart

Program evaluation and review technique (PERT) is among the important charts that are used in project management especially in giving more details about the various tasks in a project and an idea of the whole project. A PERT chart is mostly employed in complex projects. It usually shows the complex tasks and the various relationships that exist between them (Alexander, 2013). A PERT chart is different from a Gantt chart in that it can show parallel activities, and sequential activities together with tasks that have sophisticated dependencies. The PERT helps one to not only have a picture of the whole project but also envision the complexity of the tasks being carried out at present. The chart gives more information on technical needs, information, and time concerning the project. PERT deals with a lot of time management, particularly when it sets a time regarding how various activities are to start and end. The different times are calculated and possible start and finish times deliberated as a result.

PERT can, therefore, be used to show the needed resources and spell out precisely what activities need to be completed for the whole project to be successful or which activities can be left out but still lead to the conclusion of the project. The chart uses time regarding most likely, pessimistic or optimistic time. Therefore, all activities associated with the project are examined through the possible start and finish times of the activities in the project, and thus, help the project manager together with the management to make critical decisions that are essential for the successful completion of a project. The only problem is that if the various activities as spelled by PERT are not complicated on time, they may affect the project and, therefore, its finish time. The data in the chart can represent good conditions if they are enough resources available to the project manager to complete the necessary activities or all the activities associated with the project. Fewer resources regarding staff may hinder expected or anticipated completion of the project.

Work Breakdown Structure

The work breakdown structure shows the tasks of the project in a hierarchical manner. In creating the chart, one has to break down the project into its constituent activities. The top most part usually has the project name then the tasks and the subtasks follow each on its level (Vanhoucke, 2012). After the subtasks are the work, items, which include the tasks that consist of small actions which when completed, help in the completion of the project. The chart provides more details on the various tasks in the project and how they are linked to each and thus helps the organization in general and the project manager, in particular, to plan on how to finish on the various tasks.

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