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Vol. 1, No. 15      September 20, 2005    

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Today's Tip
You Want It When?

One of the most difficult tasks of an instructional development team is to complete a project on time. One secret to completing a project on time is to schedule the project so that more than one task can be worked on at a time. This way all team members are contributing so that the project proceeds as fast as possible. One way to help with this process is to use PERT Charts. PERT stands for Project Evaluation and Review Technique. It is a method to graphically represent the interrelationship among project tasks. This graphic representation can be used to facilitate communication, planning, and control. If you have not created a PERT Chart before here is what a simple one looks like for the beginning parts of an instructional development project.

Benefits of PERT Charts

  1. They show the fastest way to get something to the end product.
  2. They let you know what is on the critical path so you can help make sure nothing gets in the way of those tasks.
  3. They provide a graphical representation of the dependences among tasks.
  4. When understood by the team they help team members see the importance of their task being completed on time to avoid delays.

Steps for Developing a PERT Chart

  1. List all the tasks.
  2. Arrange the tasks in sequential order.
  3. Estimate the time for each task.
  4. Draw the chart.
    a. Start at the beginning.
    b. Add other tasks.
       . What comes before this?
       . What comes after this?
       . What can be done in parallel?
  5. Assign start and finish dates to each task.
  6. Find the critical path and estimate the total time for the project.
    Critical path: Longest path of tasks that may be done consecutively
    Slack time: Extra time available for some tasks that are not on the critical path
  7. Make a bar chart and/or transfer dates to a calendar.

Note: Got a due date you are forced to meet? Start with the due date and construct the PERT chart in reverse. That is, decide what the last task is and what depends on that task being complete. Put that task before the last task then repeat this procedure to discover all the dependencies. These will make up the critical path.

Watch for our tip on how to turn your PERT Chart into an Action Calendar. Learn more about implementing your project at The Instructional Developer Workshop on September 26-28 in San Francisco.

Until next time,

Darryl

Article 2005 Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.

Learning and Performance Tips

Welcome to Learning and Performance Tips
, a DSA newsletter for Instructional Designers and Performance Consultants. Each issue will include at least one proven tip to help you get the most out of your development and consulting efforts.

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Copyright, Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.
Monterey, California

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