PERT (Project Evaluation and Review Technique) is a method devloped for project management originally intended for the Polaris Submarine design and build. It's a graphical design (flow diagram) that forces the project designers to take into account minimum and maximum time frames and all of the different sub-projects that are required. The major benefits are that PERT joins all the activities in a sequential timeline that is created in logical sequence. The planner can then look for milestones, critical paths/activities and areas of slack.
For instance a practice decides to implement diabetic screening. There are three major projects that need to be completed:
- Changes to the EMR software to allow for datamining and recall
- Staff training
- Patient Notification
Before staff training can happen the changes to the EMR software need to be decided upon and planned with programmers. Before the patients can be notified, the staff need to be trained. Within each sub-project there might be 10 or 20 steps.
PERT allows you to interconnect those steps and calculate the time required.
For a more detailed description on how to create a PERT schedule and complete the calculations follow this link to Wikipedia. MS-Visio allows you to create a basic PERT schedule but does not automate any of the calculations. MS-Project will automate calculations as will Omniplan.
PERT is not intended as a lean tool to map and improve the efficiency of everyday tasks. Rather, it's a tool for infrequent major projects where time, rather than cost, is the dominant concern.