As a project manager you are subject to so many responsibilities in order to attain the desired outcome of the project, to give your team a better understanding of what the project is? And what their duties entail, a network diagram is designed to visualize day to day activities. The network diagram is depicted after mapping out the tasks and responsibilities, schedules, monitoring and controlling to track the efforts which are being made, it comprises Boxes representing tasks and arrows representing sequence, giving out a crystal picture of right tasks & duties in right time at a right place.
Network diagram helps project managers to picture the whole situation, analyzing the situation, evaluating resources (time, money, information and people) and then distributing meaningful jobs into clusters of tasks which are being assigned to employees.
The complexity and simplicity of a network diagram depends on the project itself, it varies according to the situation and importance of end target, time and money.
The Arrow Diagram Method (ADM)
This diagram method is used to sequence the tasks and duties, the longer the length of an arrow the more complex and time consuming the task is, the smaller the arrow the simpler the task is. The tail of the arrow shows the starting or initial point of the task often represented by “i-node”, meanwhile the head of an arrow shows the ending point or the next task to be done to attain project goals, the ending point or the head of the arrow also represented by “j-node".
- Visual picture of the project for all the stakeholders that participate in the business in any way.
- It lays out the steps and required tasks necessary in a project and the order they need to be executed.
- It shows complete time frame important deadlines and reporting dates of each step.
- It helps in tracking dependencies, monitoring quality of work and chasing potential bottlenecks.
- This method makes it easier to figure out a sequence of tasks and duties in the project, allowing project managers and their subordinates to deliver in an effective and efficient manner.
- Mapping out an arrow diagram method is time consuming and requires high costs, and talent to produce.
- Arrow diagram method does not give every little detail about the project and the tasks that it entails.
- It's quite complex to scale the timeframe of the tasks.
The Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)
This diagramming method is used to represent relationships between activities, here boxes or nodes are shown as tasks or activities which are going to be performed and arrows are used to represent relationships between activities. The arrows can therefore represent all four possibilities.
- FS – finish to start
- SS – start to start
- FF – finish to finish
- SF – start to finish
In PDM required time is labeled alongside the arrows.
- PDM is a better tool to more accurately develop the project schedule as compared to ADM.
- This diagramming method clearly speaks about the dependencies clearly stating everyone's duties and responsibilities.
- It helps to evaluate critical activities and helps to focus on them
- In PDM required time is labeled alongside the arrows, which helps the stakeholders to scale the timeframe of the project.
- The PDM also shows the results and impacts occurred due to changes in the schedule.
- It shows activities as flow lines and not points in time.
- Updating and managing the changes can be a troublesome task and is time consuming.
- It is more complex to update and manage due to less network details.
First of all, list down all the activities, related tasks, duties and the given timeframe to attain desired goal, in this way you will be able to draw a better picture of the assigned project. For this make a Predecessor table that includes all of the tasks in your project along with their next predecessors in a hierarchical order, tasks one must be accomplished before stepping into next task. The next step is to draw a flowchart for that draw boxes to represent activities and tasks and then label them accordingly, then connect the boxes or nodes according to the flow. In the end, apply the CPM; Critical path method which includes:
- A list of all activities required to attain the project goals.
- The dependencies between the tasks and nodes.
- The estimated duration or time frame that each activity will consume to complete.
Project network diagram makes it indeed a crucial and time-consuming task, as a Project manager you need to supply all the talents and need to give every little detail of each task and responsibilities to make the project a success. EdrawMax has solutions to all your project problems, it provides every important tool including CPM; Critical path method, predecessor table, flow charts and tables to design network diagrams which will help you to better visualize the project tasks.