A Gantt Chart is a horizontal bar chart used in project management to visually represent a project plan over time. Modern Gantt charts typically show you the timeline, status, who’s responsible for each task in the project.
Gantt Chart is one of the tools used to track a project. They represent the timeline of a project. They help in depicting a project schedule. They are also known as bar charts. Bar charts are relatively easy to read and are commonly used in project management. They represent schedule information with activities on the vertical axis, dates on the horizontal axis and activity durations are shown as horizontal bars placed according to start and finish dates.
About the Inventor and early uses
Gantt Chart is named after the its inventor Henry Gantt. He was an American mechanical engineer and a management consultant. He designed and used this chart around the years 1910 -1915. Henry Gantt designed his chart such that the supervisor could know whether the production was on schedule or behind schedule of ahead of schedule. This part is used in modern project management practices.
Henry Gantt also described two types of balances. One balance is “Man’s record” which helps the employee know what work he should do and what work he did. The other balance is “daily balance of work” which shows the amount of work to be done and the amount of work that is completed. Henry Gantt gives an example with orders that will require many days to complete. The daily balance has rows for each day and columns for each part or each operation. At the top of each column is the amount needed. The amount entered in the appropriate cell is the number of parts done each day and the cumulative total for that part. Heavy horizontal lines indicate the starting date and the date that the order should be done.
Gantt charts were used in architectural infrastructure projects like building of the Hoover Dam and construction of the American Interstate Highway System.
Current areas of use of a Gantt Chart
The different areas in which Gantt Charts are used are construction, consulting agencies, marketing teams, design teams, creative teams, manufacturing, human resources, software development, event planning, etc. In software development, project schedule, agile sprints, product roadmaps, bug tracking are some of the uses for Gantt Charts. In Designing, Gantt charts are used for web designing, editorial content, video production, etc. In marketing, Gantt charts are used for creating marketing plan, campaign planning, social media marketing, etc. In Event planning, Gantt charts are used for Event Check listing, Event promotion, etc.
Example of a Gantt Chart
There are tasks labeled a through g. Some tasks can be done concurrently (a and b) while others cannot be done until their predecessor task is complete (c and d cannot begin until a is complete). This Gantt chart shows how these tasks are designed. Source: Wikipedia: Gantt Charts.
Components of a Gantt Chart
There are around nine components of a Gantt Chart. They are date, tasks, bars, milestones, arrows, taskbars, vertical line markers, resources and task ID. Let’s look at them in detail here
|Date||It is main component of a Gantt Chart. It allows project managers to see when the entire project will begin and end and when each task will take place|
|Tasks||Gantt Chart helps PMs keep track of the sub-tasks and tasks in a project|
|Bars||Bars are used to show the time frame in which each task should be completed. It helps ensure that every sub-task is done on schedule so the entire project will be completed on time.|
|Milestone||They are tasks that are instrumental to a project’s completion and success. They are displayed as diamonds at the end of a particular taskbar.|
|Arrow||Some tasks can be done at any time while some tasks have a dependency on other tasks The arrows help to indicate dependencies.|
|Taskbars||Progress is shown by shading the taskbars to represent the portion of each task that has already been completed.|
|Vertical Line Markers||They help mark current date’s progress of the project. Helps in monitoring.|
|Task ID||Helps in task identification|
|Resources||Identifying and assigning resources to each task helps you manage people, tools and skills|