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Both CPM and PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) provide the user with project management

tools to plan, monitor, and update their project as it progresses. There are many similarities and differences between the two, however. Similarities between PERT and CPM

Both follow the same steps and use network diagrams Both are used to plan the scheduling of individual activities that make up a project They can be used to determine the earliest/latest start and finish times for each activity

Differences between PERT and CPM

PERT is probabilistic whereas CPM is deterministic In CPM, estimates of activity duration are based on historical data In PERT, estimates are uncertain and we talk of ranges of duration and the probability that an activity duration will fall into that range CPM concentrates on Time/Cost trade off.

Advantages of Using a CPM

Helpful for scheduling, monitoring, and controlling projects A project manager can determine actual dates for each activity and compare what should be happening to what is taking place and react accordingly The activities and their outcomes can be shown as a network Displays dependencies to help scheduling Evaluates which activities can run parallel to each other Determines slack and float times Widely used in industry Can define multiple, equally critical paths CMP determines the project duration, which minimized the sum of direct and indirect costs

Disadvantages of Using a CPM

CPM's can be complicated, and complexity increases for larger projects Does not handle the scheduling of personnel or the allocation of resources The critical path is not always clear and needs to be calculated carefully Estimating activity completion times can be difficult

A Critical Path Method is a project management tool used to formulate a time frame for a project in order to determine where potential delays are most likely to occur. The process includes a step-by-step process that provides the developer with a visual representation of potential bottlenecks throughout the course of the project.

The CPM was originally designed in the 1950's as a method of organizing and tracking the numerous activities regarding the Polaris missile defense program. However, a CPM is useful with many projects and makes the planning process easier. By Completing a CPM the following will be found:
1. The total time to complete the project. 2. The scheduled start and finish dates foe each task pertaining to the projects

completion. 3. The tasks that are critical to the project and must be completed exactly as scheduled. 4. The slack time available in non-critical tasks, as well as how long they can be delayed before they affect the project finish date. Creating a CPM can be quite easy when these simple steps are followed:
1. List the activities to be considered in approximate order. More Info 2. Number the events, estimate the time required for each, and determine the 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

antecedents.More Info Arrange the events in a CPM diagram showing the numbered events, time required, and antecedent relationships with connecting lines. More Info Determine the earliest times for starting and ending the events. More Info Determine the latest times for starting the events. More Info Determine the critical path. More Info

Step 1 All activities should be written in a list. For this example, we will use the activities listed below in determining the critical path of getting ready for a day. Task
Wake up Shower Get ready Dress Eat Make bed Review to do list Brush teeth Drive to work
10. Next (Step 2) >>


Step 2 In this step, each process is ordered in the approximate order of completion. All processes are also given an estimated amount of time required to complete the task and all antecedent processes are also recorded. For example, the following table shows that in order to eat breakfast the person must have already dressed themselves and gotten ready for the day.
Time (Minutes) Wake up 5 Shower 10 Get ready 20 Dress 10 Eat 15 Make bed 5 Review to do list 10 Brush teeth 5 Drive to work 20 Task 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Antecedent 1 2 2 3,4 1 5 5 6,7,8

<< Previous (Step 1) - Next (Step 3) >>

Step 3 Arrange the events on a CPM diagram showing the events with numbered boxes and the antecedent relationships with connection lines. There are many methods of constructing a CPM diagram, but we choose to use boxes instead of circles. Each area of the boxes are explained in the example below. Also, some diagrams prefer to include the time of the project on the relationship line, but we believe the method below is thorough and precise. Example Box:

Step 4 Determine the earliest times for the starting and ending events. Event 1 can be started immediately, but events 2 and 6 cannot begin until event 1 is completed, 5 minutes later. Similarly, event 9 cannot begin until events 6,7, and 8 are finished. Since event 9 must wait for all three of these activities to be completed, its finishing time will be the length of its task added to the its starting time, which will be equal to the largest early finish time of the directly preceding events. The example of our CPM diagram with the earliest start times and earliest finish times can be seen below.

Step 5 Determine the latest times for the and ending events. This is completed by working backwards through the diagram. In each case, the latest starting time of an activity is equal to the earliest starting time of the activity directly following it minus the time required for the current project. In our example, as shown below, activity 5 has a latest starting time of 35 (50-15).

Step 6 If the earliest time that an event can be started is the same an the latest that it could be started (ES=LS), then the timing of that event is critical. The critical path is found by connecting the critical events, and is shown by double lines on the diagram. Users must be aware that it is possible to have two separate critical paths. All other activities that are not part of the critical path have "slack" time, or time that an activity can be delayed without affecting the completion time of the project. Below is the completed diagram with the critical path.