How to Create a Gantt Chart in 4 Steps

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Gantt charts are useful for project management because they divide projects into tasks and timeframes. Discover the components of a Gantt chart and how to make one.


What Exactly Is a Gantt Chart?

A Gantt chart is a project management tool that aids in the planning and scheduling of a sequential list of tasks and resources for a project, as well as how they relate to one another. The Gantt chart is a popular chart for scheduling complex projects such as large construction projects, software development, or marketing campaigns.

In the late 1890s, Polish engineer Karol Adamiecki created an early version of the chart known as a "harmonogram," before Henry Gantt—a US engineer and project management consultant—produced his version of the chart, which became the industry standard for such charts in Western countries. Early versions of the Gantt chart were hand-drawn by workers and required reconfiguration for each new project. Gantt charts are now generated by computers using project management software.


Gantt Charts in Project Management

Gantt charts are horizontal bar charts with horizontal and vertical axes. The vertical line represents the individual tasks of the project, while the horizontal axis represents the project timeline, including the task start and end dates. The chart's horizontal bars depict workflow by tracking the time it takes team members to complete project tasks. Simple Gantt charts track project progress through milestones and deadlines; newer Gantt chart templates share a feature with another project management tool called a PERT chart, which tracks task dependencies—or the factors that link each project task.

Gantt charts track progress in any project plan by displaying the critical path. The critical path identifies all tasks that must be completed in order to meet the project's completion dates. Planners use this data to determine which tasks require more time or must be completed first, allowing them to create a more accurate roadmap for project progress.


The Benefits of Online Gantt Charts and Apps

Online Gantt charts and apps have a variety of features that make them an effective resource management tool. Among the characteristics are:

Collaboration: In order to meet milestones and deadlines, all members of a project team must have access to the business plan. Gantt chart software enables project managers to share business plans and initiatives with clients, stakeholders, and project executives in real time.

Integration: Many Gantt chart software packages allow users to integrate their data with other project and workflow management applications.

Scheduling: By streamlining the scheduling process, online Gantt charts make it easier to assign team members to tasks. Many charts include drag-and-drop functionality that allows managers to easily move stacked bars while also tracking project resources such as equipment.


How to Create a Gantt Chart

Gantt chart software is available, or you can create your own. To begin, follow these steps:

1. Assess: Begin your Gantt chart creation by thoroughly reviewing all of the steps necessary to complete the project. Make use of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), which is a tree diagram that delineates the tasks and deliverables required to meet project deadlines. The work breakdown structure (WBS) serves as the foundation for your Gantt chart.

2. Determine: Examine each task and keep track of the dependencies. They identify the project's critical path and make it easier to allocate more or less time to specific tasks.

3. Assign: Enter the project timeframe and the tasks that must be completed into an online Gantt chart template or project management software. Some tasks are too large to finish within the project timeline and must be reassigned as subtasks.

4. Include: Include additional information to help team members understand the scope of the Gantt chart. This includes task descriptions and pricing, the budget required to complete the project, and, most importantly, the individuals or project teams in charge of completing each task. Add their names as collaborators to the Gantt chart.

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