Precedence diagrams. Recognize time constraints.

What is a precedence diagram? How is it created and what advantages does the precedence diagram method offer?

Precedence diagrams

Goals of the precedence diagram method

A precedence diagram is a “graphic or tabular representation of an operational structure that consists of processes like events and organizational relationships.” That’s according to the definition of the DIN 69 900 that describes different methods for scheduling. What does that mean practically?

If you use the precedence diagram method, then you can:

  • Visually present the course of your project as a precedence diagram
  • Estimate if you’re on schedule
  • Quickly recognize dependencies between activities and the effect of changing appointments
  • Identify critical processes and activities and present them as a critical path.

What a precedence diagram displays

A precedence diagram can present a whole project. This is known as an overall precedence diagram. It is also possible to create partial precedence diagrams that only show a part of the project and are connected with at least one other precedence diagram. This taking-apart of network plans is called precedence diagram dismantling. An advantage of this technique is the precedence diagram compression.

Not all project participants are interested in a heavily detailed presentation. A manager at the highest level, for example, only wants to see the precedence diagram with milestones of the project and not the precedence diagram of the individual milestones.