Management » Project Management » An Ultimate Guide To Gantt Charts For 2021

An Ultimate Guide To Gantt Charts For 2021

What is a Gantt Chart? 

If simply put, Gantt Chart is a bar chart that helps present a visual view of your tasks scheduled overtime. 

A Gantt chart is one of the most popular tools of project management, task management and time management as well. 

It is used to plan the projects of all sizes and types across different sectors including professional and personal. 

A Gantt chart is a way to show how work is scheduled to be done on a particular day. It helps you stay on the course and complete your tasks on the given deadline. 

It also helps you to see the starting and ending date of the projects in just one visual chart. 

Gantt Chart allows you to easily see : 

  • Starting date of your project
  • Ending date of your project 
  • What are the tasks to do in the project
  • When to start the task 
  • When to finish the task 
  • How long each task will take
  • How each tasks are linked to each other 
  • The chronological order to completing the tasks 
  • Details of the each tasks 

What is Gantt Chart Software? 

Image Source: ClickUp 

With the introduction of computers in the project management, project managers learnt how software helps in creating and updating their Gantt charts.. 

It saves the time and improves the efficiency of the projects through this digital Gantt chart software. 

These Gantt chart software are basically a project management software that helps in planning, automating and scheduling of the tasks. 

It automates the processes to boost the efficiency of the projects where it supports advanced Gantt requirements such as adding milestones, task dependencies and much more. 

However, a lot of project managers use the traditional desktop programs such as Microsoft projects. 

What is the history of a Gantt Chart? 

The “Gantt” name comes from the last name of the creator of Gantt Charts named Henry Gantt. He was a American mechanical engineer and management consultant. 

He designed the diagram with publishing further about their inventions in 1910 and 1915. 

Karol Adamiecki, a Polish Economist, management researcher and engineer was surprisingly introduced to the diagram even earlier in 1986. 

Image Source: Paymo

He published his first work in 1909 where later in 1931, he managed to publish more recognized work. 

His more popular articles where he described the diagram to be named harmonogram which was the chart like Gantt charts. 

The Gantt chart was named after Henry Gantt and not Karol Adameicki was quite obvious. 

Henry was American and wrote in English whereas Karol published his articles in Russian and Polish. 

Here is the chronological order of how Gantt chart was discovered : 

  • 1986 : Karol Adamiecki designed a harmonogram at its initial stage for it to be Gantt Chart.
  • 1903: Henry Gantt discovers the charts to increase the visibility of the production schedules.
  • 1903:  The inventions from Adameicki made some stir in the technical social circles in Russia.
  • 1909:  Adameicki publishes his articles in Polish describing the diagram.
  • 1910-1915:  Henry Gantt further develops the diagram, publishes his article and makes it more popular.
  • 1931: Adameicki publishes more of his articles about harmonogram in Russia and Polish.
  •  Now: Gantt Chart is one of the most successful and popular tools in project management. 

Desktop vs. Online Gantt Chart Software 

The project management software or programs are extremely developed today on which today the teams work on. 

What makes Gantt Chart software best suits the manager who prefers to plan the project individually without the need for sharing the plan with others. 

Image Source: DPM

Then, the manager further shares the project to different and dedicated individuals from the team. 

Desktop Gantt chart software allows one local version per user license just like any other projects run on Word or Excel. 

Sharing the large Gantt chart without any kind of enterprise integration of sharing hubs such as Sharepoint can be really difficult. 

Even with using Sharepoint, the people to whom you are sharing the file will need a desktop license of the planning software to access it. This can further increase the cost for sure. 

Image Source: Toggl

Gantt chart software is easy to share and is highly collaborative project planning for all kinds of projects. 

Since the project is online, anyone you particularly invite can only be able to see the project plan. They are also able to update the tasks and attach files as well. 

The cost related to the project management is dramatically less than what it would take up on the desktop version. 

It is because you don’t have to pay anything for server installations, license costing or any kind of integration costs for every user. 

Elements Of Gantt Chart 

components of gantt charts

Every Gantt chart project has some specific elements or components that are required to make it happen. 

These elements of Gantt chart can be seen in any Gantt chart software. You will surely find more elements constituting the efficiency of the Gantt chart but five of them are extremely crucial. 

The most important five elements of Gantt Chart are  : 

  1. Tasklist 
  2. Task Duration Bars
  3. Task Owner Indicator 
  4. Task Dependency Arrows
  5. Date Indicator 

Task List 

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You will spot the Tasklist usually on the left side of the Gantt chart. It corresponds with their particular task duration bar located at the centre of the screen. 

So these are your targets, tasks or deliverables you are working towards to accomplish them.  

You can further breakdown this list dedicated to different teams or team members or task type groups as well. 

Task Duration Bars 

Image Source: Dave Paradi

It is certainly amongst the most crucial parts of the Gantt chart. It represents how long a particular task is scheduled for the completion. 

Or in other words, it is given time to complete the particular task. Gantt chart software allows you to change the duration by clicking and dragging the bars. 

Task Owner Indicator 

Image Source: FusionCharts

Every task in the Gantt chart will be representing who is the responsible person for completing it. 

By clicking on the task, it needs to show the task owner indicator reflecting the responsible person from the team. 

Task Dependency Arrows 

Image Source: SmartSheet

You won’t find the Task dependency arrows or lines for all the project management software and also not always it is required as well. 

However, when required, they are represented with an arrow or a connecting line showing that a task needs to be completed before another begins. 

Date Indicator

Image Source: Microsoft Tech Community 

You will be still seeing the calendar dates running along the top of the chart, there will be what you should call a date indicator. 

It will be either represented with vertically highlighted segments of the chart or with a vertical line. 

Why Do You Need a Gantt Chart? 

According to the creator of Gantt chart, it was created to help display the project schedule.  

In other words, it helps you demonstrate the best way to deliver the project over different metrics primarily time. 

It allows you to see how you can complete the project not just the fastest way possible but also most effectively as well. 

Gantt chart is an effective mechanism to record the progress of your project through monitoring and time-capsuling different milestones or tasks. 

Simpler words, it helps you to break down your project irrespective of its size or scale into small achievable tasks set with a deadline. 

When more people are involved in completion of the project, you can actually record how every particular team member works for the project. 

It allows you to customize, organize, control and manage the quantity of the work done on the project over different or particular team workers at a given time. 

You won’t be having any issue with tracking multiple activities undergoing your project. 

Also, tracking the progress of your project on the basis of different deadlines, tasks and team members is easier with Gantt charts. 

Benefits Of Online Gantt Chart Software

benefits of online Gantt software

It Allows Remote Enhanced Communications 

Today when most of the projects are done remotely in all domains of the work, project management also needs to be managed remotely. 

Gantt charts software is what works tremendously effectively in terms of team communication for the particular project. 

Project managers can see any particular part of their project, check the status of it and all the recent development. 

They can also monitor the project in real time and see who is working on what. Moreover they assign a dedicated person to work on a certain part of the project or allotted task to fulfil. 

It is so easy to communicate, coordinate and get feedback from the team members through Gantt charts. 

It works perfectly for the high-level projects which involve different hierarchies of team members ranging from stakeholder to a remote worker. 

The system is also capable of accommodating different teams and their team leaders sync to work on projects on different aspects at real time. 

It Has Higher Ability To Track Progress 

Gantt charts make sure that you stick to your deadlines, and that not just for your overall project but the tasks within as well. 

You will be able to track your progress and see how you proceed through different milestones of your project. 

The Gantt chart also allows you to complete different tasks and subtasks of your project on given deadlines. 

There are micro-management options and tons of tools helping you to monitor your progress on every step. 

It Also Help You Avoid Resource Overload 

One of the major advantages of the Gantt chart is  that it helps you prevent resource overload.  

It allows you to tackle numerous types of team problems whenever your resources are stretched too thin across various tasks. 

This tool helps you manage your resources effectively making sure that no single team member is overburdened. 

On the other side, it also sees that no team member will lack the resources to make the project. 

Gantt Chart Applications

Identifying Sequence of the Events 

One of the primary uses of Gantt chart applications or use cases is finding a critical path. 

It helps in identifying the longest sequences of the events that go under a project. Gantt chart allows you to streamline the process on the metrics of time and tasks. 

It visualizes the connection between the components such as time, tasks and order in your project. 

So it is an ideal way to visualize a critical path through your project and see how time links the tasks in order to make it happen. 

Visualizing Various Project Scenarios 

If you have a project to complete and feel stuck on how to proceed with it, Gantt charts can help you visualize the different project scenarios to go for. 

It tells you hundreds of ways to plan your project with different sets of tasks, time and management to fulfill. 

Using the Gantt chart, you can go over various permutations and combinations of scenarios for your project to see what is the best option for you. 

You can see particular tasks or activities lining up in the sequence in order to complete the project. 

Eventually with brainstorming, you will be able to find out the best route to complete your project in the best, fastest and cheapest way possible. 

Predicting The Estimated Time

Gantt charts are extremely helpful to predict the delivery dates or estimated time for the fulfillment of the project. 

It allows you specify the duration of every particular task set on a timeline making you right on time for your delivery point. 

It helps you predict the estimated delivery date and time while fulfilling all the deadlines for the specific tasks in the project as well. 

Not just that, it further helps in the management of the planning the cost and finding out the profitability. 

So overall, you can predict the estimated duration of the project or streamline the whole project in terms of time stamps and deadlines of each task. 

Delegating Tasks 

Gantt chart formation always means to be breaking down your project into bite-sized activities or tasks to fulfill.  

This helps you to delegate the tasks to different dedicated team members who are good at particular tasks or skills.  

Also, it allows people to see how they can all contribute to this huge project in their own way. 

It boosts the culture of responsibility and accountability making your team stronger to work together. 

By delegating the task, it also improves the quality of the project as you will optimize every particular task by assigning them to a dedicated team member with the relevant skill set to complete it. 

Demonstrating The Progress 

Gantt chart is a highly dynamic and well documented report that is connected to your workflow, deadline and streamline procedures. 

It is easy to demonstrate the progress of your project whenever you want to show it in a status update meeting. 

Demonstrating the timeline of the project with detailed addressed updates is what you can easily highlight in your Gantt chart. 

This is most certainly the best way to represent your project to your stakeholders or give them an update regarding the project over time. 

How To Create A Gantt Chart?

Gantt chart is an essential feature in any project management software or tool. It is very easy to create Gantt charts online. 

You can create new task lists or import one and you can see how it impacts your Gantt bars for the easy visual understanding. 

It gives you a detailed and precise visual representation of your projects including the tasks, roles and so much more. 

Here are the usual steps you need to follow in order to create a Gantt chart that you can find in project management software. 

Step 1  :  Create A New Project 

Login to your project management software and create a new project to begin with your Gantt chart representation of your project. 

You will find the option “Create” in the project management software or tools. You also have to name your project as well. 

Step 2 :  Add Tasks 

After login into the project management software, you can start adding tasks. 

The default date will be today because you haven’t added any longer due date further than today. 

When you add the task, it will visually show up in the Gantt chart. It shows the visual representation regarding where it starts and where it ends.  

You can see the current date as the dotted lines. 

Step 3:  Add Due Dates 

You can always change your deadlines with an effect seen on the Gantt bars. It represents how long every task will take. 

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