A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates project schedules.
Gantt shows the breakdown structure of the project by showing the start and finish dates as well as various relationships between project activities, and in this way helps us to track the task against their scheduled time or predefined milestones.History of Gantt chartThe first Gantt chart was prepared by Karol Adamiecki. After around 15 years Adamiecki along with Henry Gantt , an American engineer and management consultant devised new version of the chart which became more popular. Gradually, Henry Gantt’s name was associated with the chart.
StructureA Gantt chart provides a standard format for displaying project schedule information by listing project activities and their corresponding start and finish date in a calendar format. Gantt chart is mostly made use in project management as one of the most popular and useful ways of showing activities(tasks and events) displayed against time. List of activities are depicted on the left hand side of the chart and proper time scale is given on the top of the chart.A Gantt chart contains horizontal and vertical axes. Horizontal axis represents the duration of the project, it is broken down into increments like days, weeks or months. Vertical axis represents the tasks involved in the project, for example: Consider a project for upgrading your computer with new software. Major activities involved are conduct research, select software, install software.Activities in the Gantt chart should coincide with the activities on the WBS(Work Breakdown Structure) which should coincide with the activity list and milestone list.
ActivityActivities are the different tasks involved in the project. Each activity involved in a project is represented by horizontal bars of different length, it reflects the sequence, timing and duration of each task. For example, in the Gantt chart of project for upgrading the software, a bar that represents the task of “conduct research” is kept at the top of the vertical axis. The bar gives the information about start date, amount of time we expect to spend on research and end date. Subsequent tasks are entered below that.
The bar span may overlap. For example, task of conduct research and select software can be done at the same time.MilestonesMilestones are an important part of schedules, especially for large projects. Milestones are created to emphasize important events or accomplishments on projects.To make milestones meaningful, people makes use of SMART criteria to help define them.
The SMART criteria are guidelines suggesting that milestones should be· Specific· Measurable· Assignable· Realistic· Time-framedFor example, distributing marketing plan is specific, measurable, and assignable if everyone knows what should be in the marketing plan, how it should be distributed, how many copies should be distributed and to whom, and who is responsible for the actual delivery. Distributing the marketing plan is realistic and able to be time-framed if it is an achievable event and scheduled at an appropriate time.Automated Gantt ChartDifferent symbols on automated Gantt chart:· The black diamond symbol represents a milestone· The thick black bars with arrows at the beginning and end represents summary tasks· The light grey horizontal bars represents the duration of each individual task· Arrows connecting these symbols show relationships or dependencies between tasks which is not often shown in Gantt chartsUses of Gantt ChartGantt chart allows us to see:· Activities involved in the project· Start and end of each activity· Duration of each activity· Time and duration of overlap of activities with other activities· Start and end date of the whole projectAdvantages of Gantt chart· Better understanding of schedule of project· Helps organising tasks, subtasks, milestones etc· Helps to set proper time frame· Makes schedule highly visibleDisadvantages of Gantt chart· The size of the bars doesn’t indicate the amount of work· It can be made more complex· Difficult to create, manage and update the chart· Cannot be viewed in one pageConclusionAutomated Gantt charts store more information about tasks, like individual to whom the task is assigned, notes about how the task is done etc. Charts should be updated frequently, otherwise status of project may be wrong and project get deviated.