PERT charts for agile project management: Tips and tricks

Are you looking for a dynamic and easy-to-use tool for visualizing your projects? If so, then look no further than a PERT chart! PERT, which stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique, is a powerful tool for planning and scheduling complex projects with multiple dependencies.

In this article, we'll share some tips and tricks for using PERT charts in an agile project management context. We'll cover everything from creating a PERT chart from scratch to customizing it to fit your team's needs.

What is a PERT chart?

First, let's define what a PERT chart is. A PERT chart is a diagram that helps you visualize the tasks in your project and the dependencies between them. It does this by representing each task as a node (or circle) and connecting them with arrows that show the order in which they need to be completed.

A PERT chart can help you identify critical path tasks that have the greatest impact on your overall project timeline. It can also help you identify potential bottlenecks or areas where you may need to allocate more resources to ensure timely completion.

How to create a PERT chart in agile project management

Creating a PERT chart is fairly straightforward, but it does require some initial planning and preparation. Here are the basic steps for creating a PERT chart in an agile project management context:

  1. Identify the tasks that need to be completed: Before you can create your PERT chart, you need to identify all the tasks that need to be completed in your project. This includes both high-level tasks (e.g. "Develop new feature") as well as more detailed sub-tasks (e.g. "Write code for new feature").

  2. Determine the dependencies between tasks: Once you've identified all the tasks in your project, you need to determine the dependencies between them. In other words, which tasks need to be completed before others can start? This is where agile project management really shines – by breaking down tasks into small, manageable chunks, you can often identify dependencies that might not be apparent at a higher level.

  3. Draw your PERT chart: With your tasks and dependencies in hand, you can now draw your PERT chart. Start by placing each task as a node on the chart, then use arrows to connect them in the order they need to be completed. You can also use colors or shading to help differentiate tasks by type or priority.

  4. Update and refine your PERT chart as your project progresses: Finally, as your project progresses, you should update and refine your PERT chart to reflect any changes or new insights you gain. This will help you stay on top of your project timeline and avoid any potential delays or bottlenecks.

Tips and tricks for using PERT charts in agile project management

Now that you know how to create a PERT chart, let's dive into some tips and tricks for using it effectively in an agile project management context:

Focus on the critical path

One of the primary benefits of a PERT chart is that it helps you identify the critical path in your project – that is, the sequence of tasks that must be completed on time in order for the project to be completed on schedule. By focusing your resources and attention on the critical path tasks, you can ensure that your project stays on track and avoid any potential delays.

Keep it simple

While PERT charts can be powerful tools for visualizing complex projects, they can also become unwieldy and difficult to manage if they're too complicated. To avoid this, try to keep your PERT chart as simple as possible. Stick to high-level tasks and only include the most critical sub-tasks. This will make it easier to read and update as your project progresses.

Use color coding and labels to differentiate tasks

Another way to make your PERT chart more manageable is to use color coding and labeling to differentiate tasks. For example, you might use different colors to represent tasks that are owned by different teams or labels to indicate the priority of a task. This can help you quickly identify important tasks and stay on top of your project timeline.

Update your PERT chart frequently

Finally, it's important to update your PERT chart frequently as your project progresses. This will help you stay on top of potential bottlenecks or delays and adjust your resources or plans as needed. Ideally, you should update your PERT chart at least once a week, but more frequent updates may be necessary in particularly complex projects.

Tools for creating and managing PERT charts

While it's possible to create a PERT chart manually using pen and paper or a whiteboard, there are also many software tools available that can make the process faster and easier. Here are some of the most popular tools for creating and managing PERT charts:

Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is a powerful project management software tool that includes native support for creating and managing PERT charts. It's a popular choice among project managers, particularly those in large organizations, but it can be expensive and complex to use.


Lucidchart is a web-based tool for creating and managing diagrams, including PERT charts. It's intuitive and easy to use, with a wide range of customization options, and it integrates with other popular project management tools like Trello and Asana.


Smartsheet is a project management tool that includes support for creating and managing PERT charts. It's particularly well-suited for teams that need to collaborate on projects, with features like real-time commenting and task assignments.


Trello is a popular project management tool that includes support for creating and managing simple PERT charts. While it's not as feature-rich as some other tools on this list, it's free to use and can be a good option for smaller or less complex projects.

And last but not least, there's our very own! Our web-based tool is designed specifically for creating and managing PERT charts, with a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy to create and customize charts to fit your team's needs. Best of all, it's free to use!


In conclusion, PERT charts are a powerful tool for visualizing complex projects and staying on top of your project timeline. By following the tips and tricks we've outlined in this article, you can create and manage PERT charts in an agile project management context more effectively. And with tools like Microsoft Project, Lucidchart, Smartsheet, Trello, and available, there's never been a better time to start using PERT charts to manage your projects!

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