A lognormal approximation of activity duration in PERT using two time estimates

Srimathy Mohan, Mohan Gopalakrishnan, H. Balasubramanian, A. Chandrashekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The success behind effective project management lies in estimating the time for individual activities. In many cases, these activity times are non-deterministic. In such situations, the conventional method (project evaluation and review technique (PERT)) obtains three time estimates, which are then used to calculate the expected time. In practice, it is often difficult to get three accurate time estimates. A recent paper suggests using just two time estimates and an approximation of the normal distribution to obtain the expected time and variance for that activity. In this paper, we propose an alternate method that uses only two bits of information: the most-likely and either the optimistic or the pessimistic time. We use a lognormal approximation and experimental results to show that our method is not only better than the normal approximation, but also better than the conventional method when the underlying activity distributions are moderately or heavily right skewed.Journal of the Operational Research Society (2007) 58, 827-831. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors. 2602204 Published online 3 May 2006.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-831
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Estimation
  • Lognormal distribution
  • PERT
  • Probability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Marketing


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