Gantt Bar Charts: Your Guide to Better Project Management

What is project management? It is a field in which you have to manage resources such as people effectively. It will help to complete the project in time with desired quality. It also reduces the cost of project with better methods. A few examples are projects like construction of a dam or implementation of a new satellite network.

Developing a project plan is a part of project management. The development of project plan includes many things such as defining project goals and objectives, specifying tasks or how goals could be achieved, what are the resources needed? Further, it includes estimating budgets and time schedules for completion of the project. It also takes care of the implementation of the project and ensures that project is being executed as per the original plan.

A specialized bar chart is used to give a graphical overview, schedule of all activities or to provide elements and dependencies of a work effort. This is a chart with rectangular bars. The length of each bar is proportional to the value to which it corresponds. You can compare tow or more values with this bar chart. One of such charts is Gantt chart. The final product illustrates the schedule of a project.

This chart illustrates the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements comprise the work break down structure of the project. Some also show the precedence network relationships between activities.

Henry Gantt’s name was attributed to this chart format when it became popular. In addition to this chart type, Gantt created and inspired many more. The particular type of Gantt chart widely used today was first called a layout chart when it was created by W. Clark in 1942. The idea of using more charting lines to indicate task interdependencies did not come until much later, becoming established in the late 1980’s.

In project management, a terminal element is the smallest task tracked as part of the project. A Gantt chart shows when the project summary and terminal elements start and finish as well as terminal element dependencies. Most modern project management software produces an illustration of tasks in a Gantt format. Others choose simpler communication tools like message boards, to-do lists, simple scheduling, etc.

When creating the chart process, first figure out what the required activities are and list them. Next, draft a preliminary version of the chart. Analyze the dependencies and pencil in the activities. Determine the amount of time in hours that each activity will take. Specify who will accomplish each activity. Then, analyze the total time required.

The primary advantages of this technique are ease of understanding and an excellent graphical overview. The main disadvantages are that projects of high complexity cannot be effectively communicated using Gantt charts.