If you know anything about project management, then you are probably familiar with the Gantt chart. The Gantt chart is one of the most popular and useful ways of showing activities (tasks or events) displayed against time. The setup of the chart makes it easy to understand, with the left side of the chart displaying a list of the activities, with a suitable time scale along the top of the chart. Each activity is represented by a bar, and the position and length of the bar reflects the start date, duration and end date of the activity. This allows you to see a number of things at a glance, including what the various activities are; when each activity begins and ends; how long each activity is scheduled to last; where activities overlap with other activities, and the start and end date of the whole project.
In this article, we discuss some interesting facts and tips about this useful chart, which you probably didn’t know!
Firstly, let’s look at how the Gantt chart came into being. It all started with two men named Karol Adamieck and Henry Gantt. Karol Adamiecki was a Polish engineer who ran a steelworks in southern Poland. He had become interested in management ideas and techniques, so it was him who devised the first Gantt chart in the mid 1890s. Some 15 years after Adamiecki , Henry Gantt, an American engineer and management consultant, devised his own version of the chart and it was this that became widely known and popular in western countries. Consequently it was Henry Gantt whose name was to become associated with charts of this type.
Nowadays, we are so used to using computer software, that it’s hard to believe that Gantt charts were originally prepared by hand and had to be redrawn each time a project was changed!
When it comes to using the Gantt chart, a project plan can be created by using a work breakdown structure. This is a method of splitting tasks into sub-tasks and creating a task hierarchy. One will be able to view the task hierarchy to the left of the Gantt chart once it has been created. This helps one to visualize the steps needed to complete the project and helps estimate the time needed from start to finish.
Another tip which is useful to keep in mind, is that tasks within a Gantt chart can be linked. This means that tasks must be completed according to the hierarchy. You will be unable to move to the next task until the one before it has been completed. In this way, the tasks within a project are interdependent.
With all the possibilities offered by the Gantt chart, it is no wonder that it is used by thousands of companies to become more productive, plan projects for the long term and track results. The biggest advantages of the Gantt chart are that it avoids completion confusion, while keeping everyone on the same page. Managing that important business project has never been easier!