Gantt Chart – Definition

Cite this article as:"Gantt Chart – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated March 17, 2019, last accessed October 25, 2020,


Gantt Chart Definition

Designed as a product-control tool in 1917 by Henry Gantt, the Gantt chart is a graphical representation of the schedules of various elements of a project, such as the beginning, the end, resources, and dependencies.

It is popular as a project management tool for planning projects and a series of related tasks. Usually, the chart comprises horizontal bar graphs representing different tasks and project tasks represented with the vertical axis.

For the various project tasks, the horizontal bars are arranged in sequence and dependencies. The bar length depicts the given completion time along with the commencement and end date. It could also include other details like dependencies and task sequence.

A Little More on What is a Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart isn’t just useful for scheduling and tracking the various project tasks and resources; it consists of the start and end date of each designated tasks scheduled to be completed over the project鈥檚 duration. The chart鈥檚 bars can either be parallel, representing tasks to be done or in sequence indicating interdependence.

Commonly relied on by project managers to track plant and present a project, it helps ensure that the project stays on track. The chart also aids in uncovering project and task bottlenecks, so it is excluded from the project timeline if necessary. It can also aid in evaluating the effect of delays on the project and any non-critical activity that may demand urgent execution.

An example is a software designing and installation project expected to be completed in 40 days. A project like that is split into parts which could include; collecting user requirements, designing the software itself, testing it, and installing it.

All of those are milestones, and each appears in the vertical axis of the Gantt chart. Now, supposing each task takes about three days to complete and each is dependent on the previous task, defining both the start and end date will be possible.

These details will be depicted as horizontal bars with the start and end date of every milestone. The percentage completion of the milestones is indicated on the monitoring chart as the project continues.

When to use a Gantt Chart

Gantt chart is a valuable project management tool for all kinds of projects such as construction, software development, bridge building, and other products and services. Also, there are other project management tools you can design the Gantt chart with and such as Microsoft鈥檚 SharePoint, Visio, and Excel.

References for Gantt Chart

Academic Research on Gantt Chart

  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽Beyond the Gantt chart:: Project management moving on, Maylor, H. (2001). European Management Journal, 19(1), 92-100. This paper argues that the academic subject and many of the practices have lagged this change. Particular problems are identified with the role of strategy and planning, the units of assessment, the planning process itself and the body of knowledge of the subject. An alternative view of project management is proposed based on an integrative model and areas for further development are identified.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽Integration of genetic algorithm and Gantt chart for job shop scheduling in distributed manufacturing systems, Jia, H. Z., Fuh, J. Y., Nee, A. Y., & Zhang, Y. F. (2007). Computers & Industrial Engineering, 53(2), 313-320. 聽The subject of project management over the years has been dominated by engineering projects. Today, a lot has changed as project management has become an essential business process for most organizations. In this paper, researchers have followed the academic subject and the practices of the topic. Identified are problems such as the role of strategy and planning, the units of assessment, the process of planning and also the bulk of information on the topic. This paper proposes an alternative view of project management built on an integrative model and identified areas requiring more development. Usually, in a distributed manufacturing environment, jobs in a batch could be produced in different factories and as such have several alternative plans. This paper offers a new approach to determining the right process to create jobs and generate great working schedules in the meantime. Proposed to drive the factory combination and plan, a genetic algorithm (GA) is combined with the Gantt chart (GC). This combination has proven to be effective in resolving small or medium scale scheduling issues for a distributed industry. 聽Various objectives such as job tardiness and manufacturing cost are achievable. An illustration is given to assess the efficiency of the GA-GC approach.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽The Three-Dimensional Gantt Chart: Special Focus Article, Jones, C. V. (1988). The Three-Dimensional Gantt Chart: Special Focus Article. Operations Research, 36(6), 891-903. Creating valuable models can be seen as a process that produces several exact representations of the challenge at hand. A problem-solving project is mainly connected with developing a problem statement, a formal model, model instance, algorithm output, and the last presentation. Still, developing the models and algorithm are what the field of operations research concentrates majorly on. Ad hoc representations have always been used for the projects. Done correctly in spreadsheets, representations can considerably help the decision maker and increase the OR techniques use. One significant contribution of the study in the Decision Support System has been its concentration on tools to aid the advancement of these representations. OR can be considered both a challenge and a chance to deviate from the art of representation to the science of representation. This is depicted in the paper with an example presenting an innovative representation for a widely-studied class of problems, machine scheduling problems that demonstrate the potential of evolving hardware and software. This is to aid the types of representations required in the modeling process. Thus, extending the well-known Gantt chart for machine scheduling into a three-dimensional representation, with the representation unifying various types already designed for these problems. Likewise, the technology of the three-dimensional schedule aids the animation of the machine.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽Effective use of Gantt chart for managing large scale projects, Kumar, P. P. (2005). Cost engineering, 47(7), 14. This article addresses how to effectively use a Gantt chart when managing large-scale projects.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽The Gantt chart as applied to production scheduling and control, Porter, D. B. (1968). Naval Research Logistics Quarterly, 15(2), 311-317. 聽This article addresses the use of Gantt charts in production control and scheduling.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽The evolution of the Gantt chart and its relevance today, Petersen, P. B. (1991). Journal of Managerial Issues, 131-155. This research follows the evolution of Henry Gantt鈥檚 graphics, leading to what is today known as the Gantt Chart. Designed over seven decades ago, Gantt鈥檚 graphical depiction for comparing what occurred and what was planned remains a formidable control device and incentive. The fundamental theories enlisted in the Gantt chart are today utilized in computer-generated graphics. They also play a significant role in our approaches to information-gathering, decision-making, and assessment.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽Three-dimensional gantt chart based resource-constrained multiple projects scheduling and critical chain identification, Wang, J. Q., Zhang, S. F., Chen, J., Wang, S., & Zhang, Y. F. (2011, September). In Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IE&EM), 2011 IEEE 18Th International Conference on (pp. 1597-1601). IEEE. This article examines the three dimensional Gantt chart in project management that is resource constrained.
  • 聽Implementing the Gantt chart in Europe and Britain: the contributions of Wallace Clark, Wren, D. A. (2015). Journal of Management History, 21(3), 309-327. Targeting resources-constrained multiple projects scheduling problem (RCMPSP), a three-dimensional representation is presented by lengthening the two-dimensional representation of the RCMPSP through the inclusion of the resource in the two-dimensional Gantt chart. It shows clearly the resources consumption of each activity and also offers the necessary references on restricted resources and solving related conflicts. Additionally, the combined advantage of bidirectional scheduling and parallel schedule generation scheme (PSGS) create a hybrid algorithm and is projected to maximize the RCMPSP.
  • The paper also describes in details ways the presented three-dimensional Gantt chart can be used to represent schedules and discover critical chain. The results of the different kinds of projects and their resources reveal that the planned method works for resource-constrained project scheduling and vital chain identification.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽Implementing the Gantt chart in Europe and Britain: the contributions of Wallace Clark, Wren, D. A. (2015). Journal of Management History, 21(3), 309-327. This chapter traces both the European and British activities of Wallace Clark and his consulting company with public agencies and private businesses implementing the concept of Henry Gantt鈥檚 chart. This is concerned with the initial study of the spread of a managerial tool designed by Henry Gantt into Britain and Europe with Wallace Clark鈥檚 help.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽Automatic Harmonize Algorithm on Gantt Chart for Production Scheduling of Steel-Making [J], Hansong, L. B. T. (2008). Science Mosaic, 10, 042.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽聽Integrated Earned Value Gantt chart (EV-Gantt) tool for project portfolio planning and monitoring optimization, Ong, H. Y., Wang, C., & Zainon, N. (2016). Engineering Management Journal, 28(1), 39-53. PPM (Project Portfolio Management) a project management method is fast becoming an essential managerial skill required by most organizations particularly those involved in multiple projects at the same time. Often, these projects have different features and functions. However, most existing project portfolio theories fail to provide an effective planning and monitoring tool at the operational level. The aim of the study, therefore, is to integrate the two most effective tools for planning and monitoring 鈥 the value analysis and the Gantt chart to create a new PPM tool called Earned Value Gantt chart (EV Gantt) for planning and monitoring portfolios. To test the tool, a scenario analysis was conducted, and an experiment on an actual portfolio of real cases was carried out. The results revealed that it performed reasonably in systematic reporting, resource allocation, and monitoring enhancement. To assist in the implementation of the EV-Gantt tool, the standard operating procedure was developed by engineering managers.
  • 路 聽聽聽聽聽Gantt chart simulation based job change planning for LCD industry, Kim, T., Choi, B. K., Kang, D., Lee, J., Lee, D., & Kim, J. (2010). In IFIP5. 3. APMS (Advances in Production Management System) 2010 International Conference. IFIP. For the huge orders to be met, capital-intensive facilities known as electronic fabrications (FABs) are run non-stop with the critical objective of the complex manufacturing processes being on time delivery and maximizing machine use. While a discrete event simulation approach has been rewarding, it tends to make a short-term decision, and load any job instead of remaining inactive. In this case, being idle may be better than swapping jobs with lengthy setup time and a limited team. To compensate for the limitations of simulation-based schedulers, the study proposes a Gantt chart simulation approach. This approach formulates WIP level with an incoming and a consuming profile and the number of the loaded machines. With both profiles, it can be easy to determine when to release or include a machine for every job. The method showed potentials when applied to a real factory.


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