N E M A N N
International Journal of Project Management Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 39-43, 1995
Copyright © 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved 0263-7863/95510.00 + .00
Enhanced P E R T for programme analysis, control and evaluation:
A Sivathanu Pillai and A K Tiwari
Defence Research & Development Laborator3', Hyderabad 500 258, IndiaIn PERT,activities are not assigned a priority ranking. The criticality of an activity is, by and large, assessed if it is on the critical path. Further, under PERT, the latent complexities and uncertainties of an activity remain covert. Particularly in high-technology projects, the projectmanagement situation often requires the setting of clear and credible objectives and the formation of viablealternatives in case of any delay in the completion of an activity. A new technique has therefore been developed using the finalized PERT as its point of departure. Called PACE (Programme Analysis, Control and Evaluation), this enhanced PEnT is very effective where PERTbecomes inadequate in dealing with ill structured, ambiguous problems. PACEis complementary to PERT,as it encourages purposefulmultilearning and the development of enriched mental capabilities or models, individually and collectively within an organization. PACEhas been proved to be an effective project-management tool in the Indian Guided Missile Programme, where there are a multiproject environment and critical resources. The purpose of the paper is to share some of the important project-management experiences of thisprogramme, and thereby build bridges to link PERTwith the extended body of knowledge in systems thinking, incorporating a participative methodology.
Keywords: PERT, planning, control, system thinking, participative methodology
Research into the study of project management as a professional discipline in the past three decades has heavily emphasized quantitative techniques in project planning,scheduling and control, as observed by Ferns ~. Hogarth and Makridakio 2 emphasized the value of decision making in a complex environment in line with the holistic project environment discussed by Wagenar 3. In two critical reviews of literature on network-based planning techniques, first Moder et al. 4 and then Ritcher 5 highlighted how PERT becomes compromised in R&D situations. At about the sametime, Cleland 6 stressed the need for ongoing project evaluation and reported certain strategies. These strategies had potential for becoming a powerful project-management tool when used with the workbreakdown structures reported by Landford and McCann 7. With this background, work was initiated in the Guided Missile Development Programme of India to expedite the progress of its high-technologyprojects with a large uncertainty mix and option dilemmas. Meanwhile, an open planning architecture was reported by Currie and Tate 8, with the attractive name of O-plan. As an infrastructure for adapting this expert-system based approach was not
available in India at that time, PACE attained its present shape more as an imperative-needs exercise. The experiences with PACE appeared to achieve theresults obtained through the use of expert systems elsewhere. In particular, the quantification of judgmental uncertainty reported by Merkhover 9, the case integration reported by Levine 1°, and the timing issues discussed by Laufer t~ are covered in the scope of PACE. The benefits of PACE are close to those of the TOPP model postulated by Langeland j2 and Espedal B, with the added advantage ofparticipative management.
Once a project has been carved out after a long and often complex definition phase, the focus shifts to its implementation. This entails the completion of numerous activities (we would call them project components) by the utilization of various resources (men, materials, machines, money and time) so that a plan on paper can be translated into a concrete...