Thumbing through the Project 98 manual, I found a page illustrating PERT charts, and had to laugh. How many times in my professional journey had I come across that diagram or some permutation?
I'd been called upon a few times to lead teams and plan projects, I
first discovered PERT charts in some background reading on Project
Management. I was fascinated with the idea for a while. Then one
manager at Xerox tried to plan out a network problem with Post-It notes
and string. -- That's got to be the best definiition of spaghetti every
stuck to a wall!
Xerox headquarters in Dallas was an old warehouse that had been converted into offices. The people were great: intense and talented, but everywhere you turned led to some dark corner. Finally wandering out into the bright Texas sun could leave you gasping and staring for 10 minutes!
Using PERT diagrams by themselves to plan a project is just like
that. They're useful as an interim step in the beginning, or to explain
dependencies in a snapshot for someone, but without a timeline (--
which means spreading out across a couple of walls with miles of string
for a realistic project) PERT charts lose their appeal quickly.
Ergo, the GANTT charts are what Project depends on in later versions.
I thought about taking the training to become a Project Manager a couple of times. Usually the demands of work or budget prevented me. Besides, I was already doing the work.