GRAPH Course

P.E.R.T. method

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In the P.E.R.T. method, the vertices aren't the tasks anymore, they are the states of our project. When you're doing a task, you're moving your project in another state. A task that needs other tasks, will now be depending on the state of the project where the do tasks got tackled.

  • we got nodes like 1, 2, 3, ... that are the states of our project (1 may not be before 2)
  • they have properties
    • early start time
    • last start time
    • free margin (optional)
    • total margin (optional)
  • we have a node START
  • we have a node END

From one state of your project (START), you may do some tasks like A and B. In P.E.R.T., this is 2 states (1 and 2), and on each edge ($START \to 1$, and $START \to 2$), we will put

  • the name of the task
  • the cost of the task

But, if the task "C" is dependent on "A" and "B", this is the same as being dependent on state 1 and state 2. What we do is adding a directed dotted arrow $1 \to 2$ (or $2 \to 1$) with the duration $0$. Then we start the edge with $C(cost)$ from $1$ (resp. $2$, up to the one you picked) giving us $2 \to 3$ (resp. $1 \to 3$).

Note: You may have some cases of redundancy like C is dependent on A, and D is dependent on C and A. You must remove $A \to D$ because we got it by transitivity since we have $A \to C \to D$.


This is a specifications' table, but the words are in French. Nothing complicated, you got the task ID (A, B, ...), the task full name, the duration (=cost), and the dependencies.

And the resulting P.E.R.T diagram is

Explanations (dependencies)

  • Starting from Start
  • The first task is $A(30)$ (since no previous tasks, cost=30)
  • So we move to "1" with $A(30)$
  • Then B, C, and I are only dependent on A, we are making their states like for "1".
  • since D is dependent on A and C, and C is dependent on A, then we are making D dependent on state 3
  • since we are entering state 10 with $I$ and state 9 is dependent (for $J$) from $I$, we are using a directed dotted arrow
  • ...

Note: we removed (A, F), (A, D), (C, F) because of redundancy.

Explanations (early/last start)

  • Start's early start value is always 0
  • 1's early state is $0 + 30$ (previous + A cost)
  • 6's early state is $38 + 4$ (previous 38 + D cost)
  • ...

As for the last start, once we did all the early_start value, starting from the End

  • End's last_start value is always the same as its early_start value
  • 9's last_start is $85-6=79$ (End's last_start minus J cost)
  • 3's last_start is $min(45-7, 45-4)=38$ (4's last_start minus E cost, and resp. 5's and D)
  • ...

Explanations (free/total margin)

  • The total margin is $\text{last_start-early_start}$
  • 9's total margin is simply $79-69=10$
  • 10's total margin is simply $79-37=42$
  • ...

As for the free margin

  • we are trying to get a total margin without changing the next early_date
  • 9's free margin is $x + 69 + 6 \le 85 \Leftrightarrow x=10$
  • 10's free margin is $x + 37 + 0 \le 69 \Leftrightarrow x=32$
  • 5's free margin is $x + 42 + 0 \le 45 \Leftrightarrow x=3$
  • ...

Explanations (note)

The critical path is $(Start, A, C, E, F, G, End)$.