Not all projects are a success, for many different reasons. For example, a project supposed to deliver certain goods during a period of time failed to meet the short-term deadlines. The ultimate success of a project depends on many criteria such as efficiency, time, cost and many other measurable and unmeasurable factors. Meeting all of them can make running a project quite a challenge.
This is exactly why we need a tool that makes sure the project is managed properly, deadlines are being followed, the budget is not being breached, and the resources are being managed correctly.
Gantt Chart is considered to be one of the best tools for project management that fits perfectly in the picture. It is used in project management actively these days and is quite simple to use. It shows the scale and corresponding list of activities that need to be done during the life of the project. The length and position of each bar in the chart show the start date, duration and the end date of the activity.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper and find out what else it does!
What a Gantt Chart Tracks
A Gantt Chart tracks various activities, when each begins, how long it lasts and to what extent they overlap. Project management becomes simple, as it gives a clear overview of what needs to get done and when.
Gantt charts are interactive bar charts. They help project managers and teams outline and schedule a project for a timeline while giving a graphical, easy to understand, representation. Illustrating and visualising every step becomes easy so tasks can be connected with dependent relationships, and project progress can be tracked to meet the expected or required deadline.
Standard features of a Gantt Chart include the timeline, task dependency lines or arrows, milestones, bars showing the full duration of each task and a line to show the current date within the project schedule. Colours are used to show which tasks are on time, which are completed and which are overdue.
Gantt Chart- A Historical Timeline
The Gantt chart is named after an American engineer and management consultant, Henry Gantt. However, he wasn’t exactly the first to create it – It was Karol Adamiecki, a Polish engineer, who got interested in management and devised a useful managerial tool in the mid-1890s.
Henry Gantt created his version of this chart around the beginning of the 20th century. Back then it used to be created by hand which made updating the chart and keeping track of all the changes quite challenging. Nowadays, there are softwares that enhance the use of Gantt charts by making them easy to update.
Importance of Gantt Charts in Project Management
Project management involves handling resources, people and time effectively and efficiently. Successful project management is all about completing the project in time and still achieving the desired quality. Skilled project management also involves cutting down costs.
Formulating the project plan, specifying tasks and how project goals will be met and budgeted, as well as a timeline for completion and implementation, can be facilitated by a Gantt chart.
For Your Business, Gantt Charts Can Unlock the Door to Success
Gantt chart is a specialised bar chart that provides a graphical overview and schedule of the tasks to showcase work elements of the project. Project summary and terminal elements combine to form the basis for informed business decisions. For small or medium business owners, Gantt chart can be a significant help in facilitating project management.
Here are some of the reasons a Gantt chart is important for project managers:
- Keeps Business Owners on Track: Gantt charts keep users on track and provide a visual timeline for commencing and finishing a task. A visual overview of milestones and key dates is useful for assessing time-based tasks and deliverables for your business on weekly, monthly, yearly or even daily basis.
- Business Owners and Stakeholders Stay on the Same Page: A visual work structure helps to create clarity for complex tasks and involves business stakeholders in coordinated efforts during project management.
- Your Project Becomes Easier to Understand: Charts make it clear how tasks are interrelated and how completion of each contributes meeting specific objectives. This optimises the workflow, maximises productivity and ensures overall project success.
- Efficient Allocation of Resources: Using a Gantt chart for project management enables you to check out which resources need to be anticipated, allocated or shared to maximise use of resources. Closely following the chart also helps to keep track of the budget.
- Meeting Long-Term Strategic Objectives: The goal of a small or medium business is to expand, and Gantt charts can assist in making project management attain long-term objectives. Focusing on what needs to be done becomes easier – and this is important for a growing business. If Gantt charts are used, projects can easily meet their objectives in the context of such business.
- Visual Charting that Works: Gantt charts are visual and create excellent ways to comprehend different elements of the business operations, bringing together ideas which are critical for successful project management.
- Precedence and Priorities Become Clear: Gantt charts depict the precedence rankings and dependencies of the various tasks located within the project. Summary elements and terminal dependencies become clearer and you can chart man hours, the task and who will carry it out.
The main argument against a Gantt Structure are the tools. Until a few years back, most tools were quite expensive. Now, you can find several free tools or templates of excel sheets that work perfectly.
I find Gantt charts most useful for small and medium projects while, for a more complex project, I prefer to first do a Work Breakdown Structure and then plan a smaller task from the WBS with a Gantt. Overall, it’s an ideal tool that you can’t afford to miss! If your business is important to you, you need to be clear about how yu are defining the success of its projects.