How to create a PERT chart: Step-by-step guide

Are you tired of managing complex projects without a clear roadmap? Do you want to make sure that every activity is accounted for and well-organized? If you answered yes to these questions, then a PERT chart might be just what you need!

Don't worry if you're not familiar with PERT charts. In this guide, we will take you through a step-by-step process that you can follow to create your own PERT chart like a pro.

What is a PERT chart?

But first, let's quickly define what a PERT chart is. PERT stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. A PERT chart is a powerful project management tool that displays every task in a project visually, along with their dependencies and timelines.

A PERT chart makes it easy for you to identify the critical path, which is the sequence of activities that must be completed on time for the project to be completed within the set deadline. It also helps you manage the project resources effectively and ensures that you stay on track throughout the project.

Step-by-step guide to creating a PERT chart

Now let's dive into the step-by-step process of creating a PERT chart. We will look at each step in detail and provide examples to help you follow along.

Step 1: Identify the tasks

The first step in creating a PERT chart is to identify all the tasks that need to be completed in the project. You can do this by breaking down the entire project into smaller, manageable tasks.

For example, let's say you're building a website for a client. Some of the tasks that you would need to complete are:

Step 2: Determine the sequence

Once you have identified all the tasks, the next step is to determine the sequence in which they need to be completed. Some tasks might be dependent on others, meaning that they cannot start until the previous task is completed.

For example, in our website building project, you cannot start designing the website before completing the wireframe. Therefore, the sequence would be:

  1. Research similar websites
  2. Create a wireframe
  3. Design the website (dependent on completing the wireframe)
  4. Develop the website (dependent on completing the design)
  5. Test the website (dependent on completing the development)
  6. Launch the website (dependent on completing the testing)

Step 3: Determine the time estimates

The next step is to determine how long each task is likely to take. You can do this by asking your team members or by looking at similar projects that you've completed in the past.

For example, let's say that the estimated time for each task in our website building project is:

Step 4: Draw the PERT chart

Now that we have all the information we need, we can start drawing the PERT chart. The PERT chart consists of nodes and arrows.

To draw the PERT chart, start with a node for the first task in the project. Then draw arrows to each subsequent task that depends on it.

For example, our PERT chart for the website building project would look like the following:

PERT chart for website building project

Step 5: Calculate the critical path

Calculating the critical path is an important step in the PERT chart process. By identifying the critical path, you can focus on completing the tasks that are crucial to completing the project on time.

To calculate the critical path, you need to start with the last task in the project and work backwards. For each task, you need to calculate the earliest start time (EST) and latest start time (LST). EST is the earliest possible time that the task can start, while LST is the latest possible time that the task can start without delaying the project.

Once you have calculated the EST and LST for every task, you can determine the critical path. The critical path is the sequence of tasks that has the longest duration and cannot be delayed without delaying the entire project.

In our website building project, the critical path is:

  1. Create a wireframe (3 days)
  2. Design the website (5 days)
  3. Develop the website (10 days)
  4. Test the website (3 days)
  5. Launch the website (1 day)

Therefore, to complete the website building project within the set deadline, we need to focus on completing these tasks on time.

Step 6: Update the PERT chart

As the project progresses, you might need to update the PERT chart to reflect any changes. For example, if a task takes longer than expected, you might need to adjust the timeline for subsequent tasks.

When updating the PERT chart, make sure to update any nodes or arrows that have been affected by the change. You can also recalculate the critical path to ensure that you are still on track to complete the project on time.


Creating a PERT chart might seem intimidating at first, but it is a powerful project management tool that can help you stay organized and complete your projects on time. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide, you can create your own PERT chart and take control of your projects.

If you're looking for a PERT chart tool that is easy to use and provides all the features you need, check out With our online PERT chart maker, you can create, edit, and share PERT charts with your team in real-time. Try it out today for free and see how it can improve your project management workflow!

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