Gantt Chart in Project Management

Gantt Chart:

A Gantt Chart is a timeline that is used as a project management tool to illustrate how the project will run. You can view individual tasks, their durations and the sequencing of these tasks. View the overall timeline of the project and the expected completion date.

Why:

Gantt charts are useful for planning and scheduling projects. They help you assess how long a project should take, determine the resources needed, and plan the order in which you’ll complete tasks. They’re also helpful for managing the dependencies between tasks.

Benefits:

Top 10 Benefits of a Gantt Chart –

  1. Clarity

One of the biggest benefits of a Gantt chart is the tool’s ability to boil down multiple tasks and timelines into a single document. Stakeholders throughout an organization can easily understand where teams are in a process while grasping the ways in which independent elements come together toward project completion.

  1. Communication

Teams can use Gantt charts to replace meetings and enhance other status updates. Simply clarifying chart positions offers an easy, visual method to help team members understand task progress.

  1. Motivation

Some teams or team members become more effective when faced with a form of external motivation. Gantt charts offer teams the ability to focus work at the front of a task timeline, or at the tail end of a chart segment. Both types of team members can find Gantt charts meaningful as they plug their own work habits into the overall project schedule.

  1. Coordination

For project managers and resource schedulers, the benefits of a Gantt chart include the ability to sequence events and reduce the potential for overburdening team members. Some project managers even use combinations of charts to break down projects into more manageable sets of tasks.

  1. Creativity

Sometimes, a lack of time or resources forces project managers and teams to find creative solutions. Seeing how individual tasks intertwine on Gantt charts often encourages new partnerships and collaborations that might not have evolved under traditional task assignment systems.

  1. Time Management

Most managers regard scheduling as one of the major benefits of Gantt charts in a creative environment. Helping teams understand the overall impact of project delays can foster stronger collaboration while encouraging better task organization.

  1. Flexibility

Whether you use Excel to generate Gantt charts or you load tasks into a more precise chart generator, the ability to issue new charts as your project evolves lets you react to unexpected changes in project scope or timeline. While revising your project schedule too frequently can eliminate some of the other benefits of Gantt charts, offering a realistic view of a project can help team members recover from setbacks or adjust to other changes.

  1. Manageability

For project managers handling complex assignments, like software publishing or event planning, the benefits of Gantt charts include externalizing assignments. By visualizing all of the pieces of a project puzzle, managers can make more focused, effective decisions about resources and timetables.

  1. Efficiency

Another one of the benefits of Gantt charts is the ability for teams members to leverage each other’s deadlines for maximum efficiency. For instance, while one team member waits on the outcome of three other tasks before starting a crucial piece of the assignment, he or she can perform other project tasks. Visualizing resource usage during projects allows managers to make better use of people, places, and things.

  1. Accountability

When project teams face major organizational change, documenting effort and outcomes becomes crucial to career success. Using Gantt charts during critical projects allows both project managers and participants to track team progress, highlighting both big wins and major failures. During professional review periods, team members who frequently exceed expectations can leverage this documentation into larger raises or bonuses.

Features of a Gantt Chart:

Timeline Bar Chart:

The timeline bar chart shows Gantt bars and other symbols representing the time schedule, relationships and progress information for each task.

Gantt Bar:

A Gantt bar represents a task graphically. It shows the task duration. It can show the type of task, such as a critical task or a milestone. Bars can also represent planned and actual start dates, percent of task completed, planned and actual finish dates, slack time, and many more concepts.

Current Date Line:

The current date line shows today’s date on the bar chart. For example, if today’s date is April 7, then the 7 in the timeline bar chart would be highlighted.

Time Scale:

The time scale controls the intervals of time shown. The time scale can be hours, days, weeks, months, years, or a combination thereof.

Milestone:

A milestone is an important goal date or a checkpoint in the project, such as a task completion date. When reached, a milestone is often treated as a time to celebrate. Milestones are often designated as special symbols that you can choose.

Gantt Chart in Excel:

To create a Gantt Chart that shows task progress in days:

  1. Select the data you want to chart. In our example, that’s A1:C6

If your data’s in a continuous range of cells, select any cell in that range to include all the data in that range.

If your data isn’t in a continuous range, select the cells while holding down the COMMAND key.

2. Click Insert > Insert Bar Chart > Stacked Bar chart.

3. Next, we’ll format the stacked bar chart to appear like a Gantt chart. In the chart, click the first data series (the Start part of the bar in blue) and then on the Format tab, select Shape Fill > No Fill.

4. If you don’t need the legend or chart title, click it and press DELETE.

5. Let’s also reverse the task order so that it starts with Task1. Hold the CONTROL key, and select the vertical axis (Tasks). Select Format Axis, and under Axis Position, choose Categories in reverse order.

Customize your chart:

You can customize the Gantt type chart we created by adding gridlines, labels, changing the bar color, and more.

  • To add elements to the chart, click the chart area, and on the Chart Design tab, select Add Chart Element.

  • To select a layout, click Quick Layout.

  • To fine-tune the design, tab through the design options and select one.

  • To change the colors for the chart, click Change Colors.

  • To reuse your customized Gantt chart, save it as a template. Hold CONTROL and click in the chart, and then select Save as Template.

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