A network diagram is a project scheduling technique that shows the relationship between tasks by depicting project activities as a flowchart.
When to use a Network Diagram
The network diagram is very helpful when the task duration estimates are very uncertain. In those circumstances, it is very difficult to set dates with the other project scheduling techniques, but it the relationships can usually be set.
Another time to use network diagrams is when the project is required to conduct a quantitative schedule analysis with scheduling analytical techniques such as critical path analysis, PERT analysis, or critical chain. Each of those techniques require a network diagram to do the analysis.
- Identify dependencies for each WBS task
- Arrange the tasks in their normal sequence
- Plot each dependency between the tasks
- Check for loops and danglers
- Loops can cause a project to go into a set of activities (the loop) and cycle indefinitely. Put a counter on the loop with a maximum number of times to prevent this.
- Danglers are tasks with no start or end dependency – the relationship of the task to the project goals is not clear. If there is not task end relationship – the task may not be needed and can be eliminated. If it is needed, relate it to the appropriate deliverable. If there is no task start relationship, there is no way to initiate that portion of the project. Relate the start to the project start or an external milestone that can act as a trigger.
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