Monkees and PERT Charts #socs

First, I want to take a moment to note the passing of Peter Tork, a singer, guitarist and bassist for The Monkees, both during the TV series and after. The Monkees were the bane of music critics everywhere, who thought they were merely four guys thrown together to make a TV show. Only in retrospect have the critics decided that hey, they weren’t bad at all. Here’s my favorite Peter Tork song, “Your Auntie Grizelda.”

In college, I took a class in Operations Management (which was my major) where we learned a project management technique called the Critical Path Method. You make a list of all the tasks needed to do a project, decide how long each task will take and the dependencies (which tasks have to be completed before others), and decide the longest path between tasks from one end of the project to the other. This process is generally facilitated by drawing a PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) chart that displays the tasks and their dependencies. It’s also a lot more fun doing it that way.

Wikipedia tells us this is a “PERT network chart for a seven-month project with five milestones (10 through 50) and six activities (A through F).”

You might think I’m going to launch into a discussion of how this works. And you’d be wrong.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you eah week by Linda Hill and this station. Now this word from Old Milwaukee beer. The beer that tastes as great as its name!

33 thoughts on “Monkees and PERT Charts #socs

  1. I’ve seen and created my share of PERT charts in the past 42 years, John. My MBA focus was Operations Research. I always looked at them as the “perfect world” view – and then reality happens.

    Sad about Peter Tork. Have a wonderful Saturday

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    1. The ever-popular “unforeseen circumstances,” eh? It’s always something: a dependency you forgot to account for, a task that takes longer than estimated, change of scope, change of priorities, new project managers that have their own idea about how things should work, etc. and a three-month project suddenly takes three years. The theory goes that the PERT chart helps come up with new estimates, because the project structure (hopefully) doesn’t change… but you knew that, don’t you? 🙂

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    1. PERT is a very good way to analyze a project, mostly because you can see the whole project with its dependencies in a single glance. They’re easier to follow than Gantt charts, although the latter seems to be more popular now, probably because you don’t need to figure out Vizio or other charting software to build one.

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  2. LOL – I love how you playfully ended the post! I like Peter, and the Monkees too. When I saw his birthdate, I realized he was a year younger than my mom would’ve been. No wonder she liked him. Happy Saturday, John!

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    1. I always felt a certain affinity for the people who were born in the mid-to-late ’50’s like I was, so I can see where your mother is coming from.

      I was actually tempted to explain how to do critical path analysis, then realized I’d probably lose everyone if I did, so chose not to. That’s where the ending came from.

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    1. I can see that. Mike was another. Both were more musicians than actors, while Davy and Micky were more actors than musicians. Somehow it worked better than anyone expected, but then, no one really expected much; they just figured they’d throw the four of them together and make it into a TV show.

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  3. Interesting chart, John. I do mind mapping sometimes which is a little less specific when it comes to times, etc. Yours might help me actually get something done! Davy was my Monkee, but it’s sad to see any artist you grew up with pass.

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  4. I like the song; it would have been hard to tour and do all of those sound effects each time. Sorry to hear of Peter’s passing. About the fancy chart, I’m a firm believer that these were created for two reasons: 1) to keep upper management/administrators and their funding sources happy on paper; and 2) to keep the mid-managers out of the way so the workers could get the job done.

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    1. Re PERT charts, you’re probably right there.

      The sound effects were all done by Peter using nothing more complex than his mouth. It was probably just as easy to do them in concert as it was in the studio.

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  5. I loved the Monkees, and already posted that song (in advance) for my Monday post. You brought back another memory with PERT charts and the critical path – I got some training in project management when I was a manager some years ago, and never got to use that training.

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  6. I love the Monkees. While all the girls loved Davy, Peter was my favorite. That TV show was a Saturday morning staple. Thanks for sharing the clip of your favorite song. That one is new to me.

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  7. Hi John – the Monkees gave us some different music, but lasted the test of time. PERT charts – glad you stopped when you did! While the beer ad was interesting? Cheers and happy week ahead – Hilary

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    1. PERT charts are really not that difficult to understand. I think it takes more time to explain them then to actually do one, and by the time you do one, you know just about everything you need.

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