Gantt Chart Explained
Gantt chart was developed by Henry Gantt in 1917 as a production control tool. It is a graphical representation of schedules of different elements of a project including milestones and their start and end dates, resources and dependencies.
It is a very widely used project management tool used for planning projects and related task sequences. Typically, it consists horizontal bar graphs representing various tasks with the vertical axis represented by project task. The arrangement of horizontal bars include sequence and dependencies for the various project tasks. The length of the bar represents the time allocated to complete the task along with start and end date. The length of bar represents the time required to complete each task It can include other information like task sequence and dependencies
How a Gantt Chart Works
A Gantt chart is useful in planning, scheduling and monitoring the different project tasks and resources. It contains the start and end dates of each task which are scheduled or completed over the project timelines. The bars of the chart can be parallel identifying that the tasks can be done in parallel or the bars can be one after the other indicating a dependency on each other.
It is used by project managers in monitoring project status or plan and present it. This is very helpful to ensure the project remains on track. It also helps in identifying the bottle necks in the project and tasks which can potentially be excluded from the project timelines. One can also assess the impact of delayed or advanced activities on the overall project timelines or critical and non critical activities that must have timely execution.
For example, the project is about designing and installing of new software in 40 days. The project could be broken into tasks which are gathering user requirements, designing of the software, testing it and then installing it. These are milestones of the project and appear in the vertical axis of the Gantt chart. Assuming each task take around 10 days to complete and each task is dependent on the previous task, the start and end date of each task can be defined. These will be depicted as horizontal bars with duration according to the start and end date or each milestone. As the project progresses, the percentage completion of each milestone can be depicted in the chart itself for monitoring and tracking.
When to Use a Gantt Chart
Gantt charts can be used in project management for any type irrespective of type and size of the project such as software development, building bridges, building housing colonies and other goods and services. There are multiple project management tool available to help designing the Gantt chart like Microsoft Visio, Project, Excel and SharePoint, or other specially designed softwares such as Gantto or Matchware.
References for Gantt Chart