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Brianna Higgins Jul 25

The Gantt chart is one of the most powerful Project Management tools used to show activities (timelines, tasks, events) displayed against time, i.e. what activities need to be done and when (schedule). 

The left side of the chart shows a list of the activities, and on the top is the time scale. Every activity is represented by a bar; the position and length of the bar show the starting date, duration, and ending date of the concerned activity. We can see: 

  • What are the activities? 
  • When does an activity begin and/or end? 
  • Each activity is scheduled to last. 
  • Where do activities overlap with others, and how much? 
  • The beginning and end date of the whole project

How to Create a Gantt Chart?

Gantt charts can be made manually, but it would require huge lengths of paper, pencils, loads of erasers, and sharpeners. It’s a good thing that technology has made this thing so easy for us! On computers, Gantt charts are created with the help of project management information system (PMIS) applications, like Primavera® Project Manager, Microsoft Project®, MindView®, etc.

Typically. meetings are held to create schedules with the project team members and activities are identified. The schedule, however, will not be full and final, but it does contain enough activities to ensure compliance with the 100% rule. Here are the six steps for making an effective Gantt Chart

6 Steps to Make a Gantt Chart In Microsoft Project Management

  1. Review scope baseline: Here we will discuss the scope of the work. The end goal must be clarified and the timeline. The scope baseline must address 100% of the project scope. A scope baseline has primarily three components:
    1. Scope Statement
    2. Work Break Down Structure
    3. WBS Dictionary

gantt chart

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  1. Create Activities: The project team now breaks down WBS work into activities through the decomposition process. Rules are set for creating scheduled activities (same as WBS work packages). Final schedules have to be effective and efficient; there should not be too few or too many activities. The team must identify deadlines and milestones during the decomposition of the project.

 

  1. Sequence Activities: All activities are interrelated, one way or the other. Except for the beginning and end, every activity comprises a predecessor and a successor. In this step, we sequence the activities in the optimum and efficient order to make the best use of the time we have and ensure the project is completed on time. 

gantt chart example

Dependencies in a Gantt Chart (source)

  1. Estimate Resources: Projects require resources, i.e. money, equipment, skilled and unskilled labor, technology, raw materials, etc. They must be identified, estimated, and arranged/sourced. We can use estimating techniques like analogous, parametric, three-point, and bottom-up. The resource calendar is also made in parallel to the activity schedule and timeline. 

 

  1. Estimated Durations: We also have to calculate how long each activity lasts. The difference between the start and end time of the activity of the project is called the duration. We can use resource estimation methods to estimate the time duration of an event while identifying constraints, limitations, or restrictions on activity.

Constraints or Limitations in a Gantt chart

Constraints or Limitations in a Gantt chart (source)

  1. Developing Schedule: We can use Project Management Software like MS Project, Excel, or Primavera to create a full-fledged Gantt Chart. It helps ease the review and editing of the timeline. Make sure response plans and contingencies are incorporated. We can add buffers or margins at the activity and project level to cater to uncertainties. 

project management scheduling

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develop scheduleSource

Resources to Learn 

Conclusion

A Gantt Chart is the most effective tool we have for planning projects and efficiently executing them. As a CEO or Project Manager, one must have a good grip on this amazing tool. It can be made easily on software with a few clicks. 

 

Check out other resources to learn more on Gantt Charts.

 

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