The Famous Gantt Chart

The Gantt chart is a well-known standard in program management that dates back to 1917, when Henry Gantt, a pioneer in the field of scientific management, invented it. The chart plots a number of tasks across a horizontal time scale. It is easy to understand and allows team members to maintain the status of their tasks against planned progress. In its most basic usage, the Gantt chart puts tasks on a series of horizontal timelines. The timeline can measure the progress in hours for a short-term project, months for a long-term project, or weeks, as shown in the example on page 120.

PROJECT: PRODUCING NEW SALES BROCHURE

The Gantt chart shows timelines for each task and the overlap between tasks. You can clearly get an idea of what tasks are being performed in any given week. You can also use the chart to gauge where you are. For example, if, in week eight, graphics are not complete, then you are behind schedule. Gantt Charts are easy to read at a glance, particularly if you use different colors for each task. You can show progress on the Gantt chart by using light colors or no colors on the initial timelines for each task, and then coloring in the boxes as the work gets done.

What the Gantt chart doesn't tell you, is who is performing each task or if tasks depend on one another. For this information, you will need a task member schedule or task list. Therefore, while the Gantt Chart is very helpful in terms of a timeline, you'll need to use it in conjunction with other scheduling tools.

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