Invented in 1910 by Henry Gantt, the Gantt chart is a tool for planning tasks relating to a current or future project. These are represented using horizontal bars visible across a chart. Many business leaders from different business sectors use it to manage varied and complex tasks. Let’s see this in more detail.
The uses of a Gantt chart
The Gantt chart is used for organizing, planning, and tracking tasks. It is therefore used for:
- The establishment of milestones to validate the different stages of a project.
- Determining the deadline for each key stage of a project.
- Optimal monitoring of tasks in parallel with the realization of other projects.
- An estimate of the impact of any delay on other tasks and the deadline.
- A visualization of the tasks to be done.
- A follow-up of the evolution of the project and its management in relation to the remaining time.
Setting up this dashboard is useful when your company is responsible for setting up a complex project. Even if the tasks are intertwined, it is easier to differentiate them. However, you can also use it on any project whether complex or not.
Making a Gantt chart
Its implementation can be done using an Excel file or any other software similar to this one. Once the software choice is made, you need to prepare the project data inside a table. Then there are a few steps to follow as we detail here:
- Define the tasks and milestones of the project: that is to say, it will be necessary to break down the main stages of the project and the time planned for their completion. For better organization, it is advisable to organize the milestones in chronological order.
- Estimate the time required for the production of tasks. This is important data to accurately estimate the duration of the project.
- Identify interference or performing sequential tasks in order to process different tasks in parallel.
Steps for creating a Gantt chart
For your Gantt chart to be successful, there are several steps to take the order.
First, you must inspect the basics of the scope of your project and bring your team together to take stock of the content of the specifications. Once that’s done, you can start creating activities. It’s about breaking down teams into formwork units. Remember to remind each team concerned about the milestones and the processing time of the project.
Once the roles are shared, there is the estimation of resources. These include the equipment, people, and materials needed to complete the project. Then there is the development of the schedule which includes the insertion of the data collected and the checks to be made.
The software to be used for its realization
The Excel tool is the most used when it comes to creating a Gantt chart. It is software that is easy to master over time.
However, there are other apps you can leverage to build your diagram. Most of the time, they are free and accessible. For example, it is possible to do this from Google Drive or using a Smartsheet.
They are effective and practical tools for carrying out collaborative work. Otherwise, you can also use free software like Ganttproject. The latter makes it possible to take measures in the event of a delay in production and to carry out simulations.