Gantt chart: what it is, what it is for and how to do it

The Gantt chart or Gantt diagram is a visual tool used to control and manage a project’s activity schedule . With it, it is possible to list everything that needs to be done to put the project into practice, divide it into activities and estimate the time needed to carry them out.

The Gantt chart was created by the American engineer Henry Gantt , at the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, Gantt’s goal was to organize the stages of the production process, but over time his idea has been developed and is now widely used in the area of project management .

Like any graph, the Gantt graph is divided into two axes, the vertical and the horizontal. The vertical contains the activities that need to be done, and the horizontal shows the start and end times for each activity. By linking the two axes we can see how long the project will be delivered and even what activities should be done first.

Looking at this example, you can see that the project starts on 9/3/18 and is completed on 9/17/2018. You may have noticed that some horizontal bars are shorter or longer than others. This is because some activities take longer than others, and the graph shows the execution time for each one.

In addition, some activities depend on others to get started, such as 1 and 5. If you look closely, you will notice that 5 starts right after 1 ends. Watch:

Looking at this example, you can see that the project starts on 9/3/18 and is completed on 9/17/2018. You may have noticed that some horizontal bars are shorter or longer than others. This is because some activities take longer than others, and the graph shows the execution time for each one.

In addition, some activities depend on others to get started, such as 1 and 5. If you look closely, you will notice that 5 starts right after 1 ends. Watch:

You can control, for example, with a color system what has already been completed, what is being done and what has not yet started. In our example, gray means done , green in progress and blue to do .

This makes it easier to know the status of each activity and, if any stage is delayed, you have the means to identify and think of strategies that will put the project back on track as quickly as possible.

Read on and learn step by step how to put together a Gantt chart to manage your project schedule .

How to Build a Gantt Chart

 

1. List the activities

The first step in putting together a Gantt chart is to make a list of all the activities involved in the project. As we said earlier, generic activities should be broken down into smaller activities to facilitate the monitoring of each one. Do not worry yet about defining the relationship between tasks or the order of execution, this is what will be done in the next step. Focus on detailing all the activities important to the project.

2. Identify the relationships between them (vertical axis)

Now that you have all the activities at hand, identify which activities do not depend on any other to be carried out – these should be grouped and, if possible, done at the same time, to minimize the final delivery time.

Then, put the remaining activities in order, respecting the sequence of execution of each one. They must be placed on the vertical axis of your Gantt chart, one below the other. As we explained, certain activities require the fulfillment of others to be put into practice.

3. Determine the deadline and those responsible (horizontal axis)

With the activities and the order defined, you can set a deadline for each one. Take into account the effort that each activity requires and how many resources (people) are available to carry it out.

If the effort required for an activity is 16 hours (2 days) and you have 2 people who work 8 hours a day to do it, the time can be divided between them, and the time to perform the activity will fall by 16 hours for only 8 hours, that is, 1 working day instead of 2.

That done, it remains to be determined who will be responsible for each task. So, even though the activities need to be done by several people, the project manager will know who to talk to if there are any unforeseen events.

Choose a place to keep your Gantt chart

There are several solutions for building and hosting your Gantt chart. From analog options to project management software made especially for this. Here are some options:

post-it notes

Initially, most of the Gantt charts were made with the help of post-its. Today there are still some project managers who use this method to build the graph’s outline, and then pass the information on to specialized software. –

To build your Gantt chart with post-its, you must have a sheet with the vertical axis and the horizontal axis already defined, and the post-its will be used to show in which period the activities will be performed:

Leave a Comment