How to Use a Gantt Chart to Keep Your Projects on Track – Creating and maintaining a project schedule is crucial for construction projects, which are always time-sensitive. Each task relies on the completion of another, and missed milestones can result in costly liquidated damages payouts. As a result, construction managers are constantly seeking better ways to create and understand project schedules.
Many project managers use Gantt charts to simplify their schedules. Since the Gantt chart’s inception over a century ago, there have been numerous improvements in its creation, viewing, and updating. This ongoing development has made the Gantt chart one of the most popular methods for managing project schedules.
Table of contents
- 1 What is a Gantt Chart?
- 2 The History of the Gantt Chart
- 3 How to Use a Gantt Chart to Keep Your Projects on Track – Who Uses Gantt Charts?
- 4 What Aspects of a Construction Project are Usually Presented in a Gantt Chart?
- 5 When Should you use a Gantt Chart?
- 6 What are the Benefits of Using a Gantt Chart?
- 7 What are the Limitations of a Gantt Chart?
- 8 How do you Create a Gantt Chart Using?
- 9 How can a Gantt Chart Help my Project?
What is a Gantt Chart?
A Gantt chart is a type of project chart that visually represents tasks over time. The horizontal axis depicts time, while the vertical axis lists the tasks to be completed. The bars on the chart indicate the start date, end date, and duration of each task.
This straightforward visualization allows schedulers to identify task overlaps, avoid conflicts, and quickly assess the project’s progress at any given time.
The History of the Gantt Chart
The Gantt chart, named after Henry Gantt in the early 1900s, was initially a time-consuming and laborious scheduling tool. Handwritten and difficult to update, it had limited industry utility due to the need for recreating the chart with any schedule changes.
With the advent of computers and software, creating and modifying Gantt charts has become much more convenient. These charts now provide comprehensive insights into each task, including task assignees and progress status at any given time. As a living document, the Gantt chart evolves as the project advances.
How to Use a Gantt Chart to Keep Your Projects on Track – Who Uses Gantt Charts?
Gantt charts are utilized by managers on construction teams to track daily tasks, such as ordering supplies and assessing the need for any adjustments. However, they are primarily created and heavily relied upon by the project manager.
The project manager is responsible for construction scheduling and Gantt chart maintenance, using the chart to manage dependencies and monitor workloads. This tool is valuable for identifying and controlling scope creep, a growing concern in the competitive industry that can lead to substantial cost overruns, as highlighted in the Project Management Institute’s 2018 Pulse of the Profession study.
What Aspects of a Construction Project are Usually Presented in a Gantt Chart?
A Gantt chart typically presents various aspects of a construction project, including project phases from supply acquisition to construction and closeout. It lists individual tasks that can be monitored as the project progresses through each phase.
Milestones tracking the project’s advancement are included in the chart, along with alerts to notify the construction team of incomplete tasks or potential delays in meeting milestones. Additionally, task dependencies are identified and tracked within the Gantt chart.
When Should you use a Gantt Chart?
A Gantt chart is best suited for time-sensitive projects involving multiple individuals or teams. Construction projects, which heavily rely on timelines, often find Gantt charts beneficial. It is recommended to develop the Gantt chart after setting deadlines and identifying tasks. The chart should be viewed as a visual depiction of the project plan, rather than a tool for creating the initial schedule.
What are the Benefits of Using a Gantt Chart?
Utilizing a Gantt chart offers several advantages. Construction teams benefit from streamlined collaboration, as the chart provides a quick overview of project progress without the need to sift through extensive documentation. It also facilitates the identification and management of task dependencies, while aiding in the establishment of project timelines.
What are the Limitations of a Gantt Chart?
How to Use a Gantt Chart to Keep Your Projects on Track – The use of Gantt charts comes with certain limitations. For instance, to those unfamiliar with them, the length of the bars can be misleading, as it only represents the time required to complete a task and not its complexity or significance. Additionally, while Gantt charts are valuable for tracking tasks, milestones, and dependencies.
They can become complex and challenging to manage, particularly when using older software. However, modern Gantt chart software has improved usability, addressing some of these challenges.
How do you Create a Gantt Chart Using?
Feeling a little intimidated about creating your own Gantt chart? No need—many find that it’s easier to create a Gantt chart by employing a project management solution like us. When you use APPMVN company’s Scheduling Tool to input each task and its associated information, you can then toggle over to Gantt view to see a bar chart representation of your project.
From the Gantt view, you can add filters to choose what information shows up in the project chart and enable the “percent complete” view so the bar’s color gradient shows each task’s level of completion. Any changes you make using the scheduling tool are reflected in an updated Gantt chart.
How can a Gantt Chart Help my Project?
How to Use a Gantt Chart to Keep Your Projects on Track – A Gantt chart can be a powerful tool for managing your project by offering numerous benefits in several key areas:
Organization and Visualization:
- Plan and structure your project: It provides a clear visual representation of your entire project, laying out tasks, dependencies, and timelines. This allows you to plan your workflow and identify potential bottlenecks.
- Improve communication: Sharing the Gantt chart with your team promotes transparency and understanding of the overall project schedule. Everyone can see what needs to be done, by whom, and when.
Efficiency and Productivity:
- Track progress and deadlines: Monitor the progress of each task and easily identify delays or slippage. This allows you to take corrective action quickly and adjust your schedule as needed.
- Prioritize tasks: Clearly see which tasks are critical and need immediate attention, helping you focus your efforts and resources efficiently.
- Resource allocation: Assign tasks to team members based on their skills and availability, ensuring optimal utilization of your resources.
Risk Management and Control:
- Identify potential issues: By visualizing dependencies between tasks, you can easily spot potential conflicts or bottlenecks before they happen. This allows you to take proactive measures to mitigate risks.
- Flexibility and adaptation: Gantt charts are easily updated and revised, allowing you to adapt to unforeseen changes or new information. This helps you stay in control of your project even when things don’t go exactly according to plan.
Overall, a Gantt chart can significantly improve your project’s success by:
- Saving time and resources: Planning and organization lead to greater efficiency and fewer wasted efforts.
- Enhancing communication and collaboration: Clear visuals improve team understanding and avoid misunderstandings.
- Boosting confidence and motivation: Seeing progress and staying on track motivates team members and keeps them engaged.
- Reducing stress and anxiety: Knowing what needs to be done and when minimizes uncertainty and increases predictability.
Whether you’re managing a small task list or a complex multi-faceted project, a Gantt chart can be a valuable tool to keep you organized, on track, and confident in your success.