5 Reasons to Use a Gantt Chart for Project Management
The first version of a Gantt chart was created in 1896. Fifteen years later, Henry Gantt invented his own version, which became a revolution and was named after him. Countless companies now use the tool. It is a near-perfect way to track projects on a timeline and create a visually comprehensible plan.
If you’re contemplating planning your next project with a Gantt chart, this article is for you. We will talk about what a Gantt chart is and give you 5 reasons to use it for managing your projects. So, let’s begin with the basics.
What is a Gantt chart?
A Gantt chart is a “horizontal bar chart” depicting project tasks across the timeline. You can mention the project tasks in chronological order, from top to bottom on the left side of the Y-axis of the chart. Accordingly, they take up their own “bars” across the X-axis which shows how long each task will take to complete. This way, you can view details of all tasks, as well as how long each will take to complete. Plus, you get to see the full length of the project. Everything is transparent and clear.
After learning what a Gantt chart is, let’s discuss reasons for why you should use it. Here are 5 major reasons for you and your project.
Gantt charts showcase the overall picture of a project from a quick look. You can also see the details if you take a deeper look. Since it has an easy-to-grasp concept, it makes sense to use in the beginning, middle, and end of projects. You can show it on a screen during meetings, and the plan should be clear to everyone right away.
One of the biggest advantages of Gantt charts is how it showcases tasks, processes, dependencies, as well as milestones. You can see what tasks overlap, what the team can manage, and discover resource requirements.
Last but not least, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text. On top of that, 90% of the info that goes to our brain is visual. So, there’s no doubt that showing your team a Gantt chart is better than a list of tasks.
Highlight starts and ends
With Gantt charts, all tasks have a beginning and an end date. It’s shown on the graph and written next to it, so it’s easy to spot. This way, all your team members know when they should begin and turn in their tasks, as well as what preparations need to be done.
If your tasks are interdependent, a Gantt chart clearly shows it with icons and arrows. In case your team members need to decide how to prioritize their work, your Gantt chart will come to the rescue.
You can break down your work into weeks, days, or even hours, so the responsibilities of each specialist are clear and understandable. You will also know when each member is busy, understand their workload, and assign new tasks accordingly.
Track progress across tasks and project
Whether you’re 90% done with a task or halfway through your big project, it’s always great to know how far you’ve come. It will motivate you to go forward and give you a clear picture of what’s to come.
This feature of Gantt charts can also benefit you in time management and allocating your resources. You can view how much the length of each task is supposed to be and manage your time accordingly. As for the project’s budget, the chart will help you track your use of resources and future needs.
If you ever need more manpower to finish a task on time, your Gantt chart will alert you about it. The information you receive will also help you stay away from overworking your employees and allocating your human resources better.
Define crystal clear project requirements
You can make sure all your team members are on board with the proposed project plan through a Gantt chart. Since 39% of projects fail because of insufficient planning, it’s crucial to streamline your planning process. Create an initial Gantt chart, then refine it until you get a clear plan with distinct requirements and milestones.
You can define tasks, break them down into sub-tasks or even sub-sub-tasks to ensure everyone understands their responsibilities. You can also use color-coding or icons to showcase progress. This way, you can also improve their productivity and ensure project success.
Showing specific milestones and dependencies is also an excellent way to break down your project into phases. Not only will you become more efficient, but your workers will be more motivated to achieve and surpass your goals.
Bring all departments to one page
A Gantt chart showcases all working parts of your project, of course including the work of different departments. So, when working on Gantt chart projects, your workers will know exactly what comes before them and what will come after. This way, they will stay on track and understand their part in the whole play.
Gantt charts guarantee transparency. You can see what everyone is doing at one moment with just one look. This will also help you pinpoint bottlenecks in your processes, create custom workflows, and improve.
Gantt Chart Alternatives
Are you still unsure about Gantt charts? You can use it for any company and any project size, but maybe looking at competitors will help make up your mind. Here are some alternatives for a Gantt chart:
- Kanban board
- Project network diagram
- Scrum board
- Simple checklist
Each type of tool has its benefits, and ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. You can look through all your options and choose your favorite.
Gantt chart generally
A Gantt chart is one of the best tools for visualizing your project’s timeline. It shows everything you need to understand tasks, track them, and bring them to an end. It’s not surprising that Gantt charts have been one of the most popular project tracking tools and continue to stay in that position. It has various benefits and can be used for essentially any project.