What is a Gantt Chart Used For?
The Gantt chart was created in the early 1900s by Henry Gantt as a way to visualize project schedules. The Gantt chart is a horizontally aligned bar chart with a series of tasks denoting their estimated duration. Each task is a row in the chart with the row length depicting the duration of that specific task. Now that you know what a Gantt chart is used for, you can learn about some of the numerous Gantt chart benefits. [caption id="attachment_133267” align="aligncenter” width="512”] Heny Gantt - circa 1916[/caption]
Gantt Chart Benefits
1. Clarity One of the biggest benefits of a Gantt chart is the tool’s ability to boil down multiple tasks and timelines into a single document. Stakeholders throughout an organization can easily understand where teams are in a process while grasping the ways in which independent elements come together toward project completion. 2. Communication Teams can use Gantt charts to replace meetings and enhance other status updates. Simply clarifying chart positions offers an easy, visual method to help team members understand task progress. 3. Motivation Some teams or team members become more effective when faced with a form of external motivation. Gantt charts offer teams the ability to focus work at the front of a task timeline, or at the tail end of a chart segment. Both types of team members can find Gantt charts meaningful as they plug their own work habits into the overall project schedule. 4. Coordination
[caption id=”” align="aligncenter” width="600”] Sample Gantt Chart in Excel[/caption]
For project managers and resource schedulers, the benefits of a Gantt chart include the ability to sequence events and reduce the potential for overburdening team members. Some project managers even use combinations of charts to break down projects into more manageable sets of tasks. 5. Creativity Sometimes, a lack of time or resources forces project managers and teams to find creative solutions. Seeing how individual tasks intertwine on Gantt charts often encourages new partnerships and collaborations that might not have evolved under traditional task assignment systems. 6. Time Management Most managers regard scheduling as one of the major benefits of Gantt charts in a creative environment. Helping teams understand the overall impact of project delays can foster stronger collaboration while encouraging better task organization. 7. Flexibility Whether you use Excel to generate Gantt charts or you load tasks into a more precise chart generator, the ability to issue new charts as your project evolves lets you react to unexpected changes in project scope or timeline. While revising your project schedule too frequently can eliminate some of the other benefits of Gantt charts, offering a realistic view of a project can help team members recover from setbacks or adjust to other changes. 8. Manageability For project managers handling complex assignments, like software publishing or event planning, the benefits of Gantt charts include externalizing assignments. By visualizing all of the pieces of a project puzzle, managers can make more focused, effective decisions about resources and timetables. 9. Efficiency Another of the Gantt chart benefits is the ability for teams members to leverage each other’s deadlines for maximum efficiency. For instance, while one team member waits on the outcome of three other tasks before starting a crucial piece of the assignment, he or she can perform other project tasks. Visualizing resource usage during projects allows managers to make better use of people, places, and things. 10. Accountability When project teams face major organizational change, documenting effort and outcomes becomes crucial to career success. Using Gantt charts during critical projects allows both project managers and participants to track team progress, highlighting both big wins and major failures. During professional review periods, team members who frequently exceed expectations can leverage this documentation into larger raises or bonuses. For specific examples and resources related to how to create a Gantt chart, please see Gantt Chart Examples and Tutorials. Henry Gantt Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons