An Activity Network diagram is a 7M tool that graphically depicts your project timeline. You can gather great information on how to manage your project by mapping out tasks in order of occurrence and labeling each with the best, worst, and average case times it takes to complete them by incorporating PERT and CPM techniques into a flowchart.
An Activity Network diagram helps you:
The primary intent of creating an Activity Network Diagram is to create a flow chart showing the necessary tasks for a project in sequence order (including parallel and serial paths).
- Identify Critical Tasks
- Identify bottle necks
- Identify time tables.
- Determine which activities are to be performed
- Determine when activities must be performed
- Determine in what order activities must be performed
How to make an Activity Network Diagram
Activity network Diagram helps manage the development of projects – especially for organizations that have list activities performed at a particular time.
Step 1: List all of the tasks in the project
The first thing that you have to do is to gather the list of the complete tasks of the organization that are required to complete the proposed project
Step 2: Put in Chronological order
Have them arranged in chronological order- that is according to the order of the execution of each task.
If a task is dependent on another, be sure that that task is further down the timeline than the one needed. In other words, if Task A needs tasks B and C to complete before it can be performed, put B and C in front of task A.
If tasks can be executed simultaneously, draw them in parallel.
Step 3: Label Optimistic, Pessimistic, and Most Likely times
Most-likely time. The time that you will likely need to complete the project.
Most optimistic time. The shortest amount of time to complete the task.
Most pessimistic time. The longest amount of time to complete the task.
Step 4: Calculate the Critical Path
The Critical Path is the longest time through the entire project executing tasks in necessary order. This is important because the project will never complete quicker than the critical path.
Step 5: Review and look for Efficiencies
Look for ways to shorten your critical path. Re-evaluate the task dependencies. Is there any way you can move tasks around to complete the project faster? Where are your bottlenecks? Can any tasks be sub-divided? Are there any more ways tasks can be completed in parallel?