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Network Diagrams (#11 in the series How to Plan and Organize a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

A project network diagram is a flow chart depicting the sequence in which a project’s non-summary activities (“terminal elements”) are to be completed, showing all their dependencies.

Network Diagram

Network Diagram Example (Click to enlarge)

The network diagram is excellent for planning and replanning project activities sequencing, and it also identifies the project’s critical path. Upon completing the construction of the network diagram, the activities which represent the longest path from project start to project end, are identified. That means if any of these critical path activities slip, so does the project completion date.

MICHAEL D. TAYLOR, M.S. in systems management, B.S. in electrical engineering, has more than 30 years of project, outsourcing, and engineering experience. He is principal of Systems Management Services, and has conducted project management training at the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension in their PPM Certificate program for over 13 years, and at companies such as Sun Microsystems, GTE, Siemens, TRW, Loral, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Inprise. He also taught courses in the UCSC Extension Leadership and Management Program (LAMP), and was a guest speaker at the 2001 Santa Cruz Technology Symposium. His website is www.projectmgt.com.

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