GANTT Chart Basics and Strategies to be the best WBS GANTT Chart Creator
Gantt Chart Definition
A Gantt chart represents mainly a visual progress chart that can give people an overview of the tasks, start dates and end dates of a project. It is a type of bar chart that provides a visual representation of a to-do list for a project. The chart is named after Henry Gantt, who developed it between 1910 and 1915.
It gained widespread acceptability and was considered revolutionary when Henry Gantt was hired by Gen. William Cozier at the start of World War I to help with the production of arms and munitions for the United States military. At the time, typewriters were severely lacking in their ability to provide a comprehensive idea about what progress was being made in the fulfillment of the orders for arms and munitions as placed by the United States government. General Cozier introduced the Gantt chart to several departments of the United States government where the chart initially became popularized.
A Gantt chart provides a massive amount of information on one sheet. At a glance, you will be able to present:
- Each and every task in a project
- The start date and end date for each task
- The duration of each task
- The relationship of each task – how they overlap and how much they overlap
- An expected start date and end date for the entire project
Each task is displayed against time in a graphical manner. The timescale is displayed across the top of the chart while the list of tasks can be seen on the left. The duration of each task is presented by a horizontal bar that starts on the start date and ends on the end date according to the top of the chart where the timescale is.
Why Would You Want to Use a Gantt Chart?
Visual representations usually have the effect of being able to transmit information relatively quickly without reading long paragraphs and trying to put the pieces together in your mind. The statement is both true and untrue with the WBS Gantt chart. However, there are several advantages to using a Gantt chart.
A Gantt chart provides a graphical overview. As mentioned before, this means that people don’t need to read large paragraphs and put together the information in their mind. The advantage of providing a graphical overview means that you can present a large amount of information utilizing a very small amount of printable space.
It Enables Efficient Organization
Because a Gantt chart visually provides information about each and every task in a project as well as the start and end dates, this chart enables efficient organization for the entire project. Many tasks relate to each other and tasks can overlap in time. By writing down each and every task or project, you’re forcing yourself to focus only on what needs to be done and organizing the information which can lead to a more successful project.
Help You Establish Time Frames
Many tasks in a project depend on other tasks. Take this example – you may have a very hard time presenting a brochure to be printed if the designer has not finished designing it. These charts allow you to present information so anyone can check at a glance to see when one task is supposed to finish so another task to start. By using a visual bar that represents the time frame and duration of the task, it can give you a clear idea about how much work is involved and how long each task should take.
A GANTT Chart Creator Has the Advantage of Being Visual :
The best advantage of having a visual representation of your project is that people can look at it and instantly have an idea of the tasks and time frames involved. You can take today’s date and instantly know exactly where you are in the project, what should’ve already been done, and what lies ahead of you.
Why Don’t People like A WBS Gantt Chart?
Although it is a visual representation, it doesn’t always make easy to read or understand. In fact, despite its inherent usefulness, they weren’t widespread among businesses until the advent of computers in the 1980s.
Be a Simple WBS GANTT Chart Creator – A GANTT WBS doesn’t have to be Complex and Hard to Read :
Since the 1980s, when computers started to use Gantt chart creators and to create charts, projects have become increasingly large. This can lead to creating an increasingly large and complex WBS Gantt chart. Sometimes, these charts span several pages because these projects can last for three or four years.
It Needs to Be Updated Often :
It Doesn’t Show the Entire Picture :
A Gantt chart creator provides two things. It provides the duration of a project against time. What it doesn’t show is the amount of work each task is expected to take, how many people are expected to complete each task or the resources that each task will consume. The lack of this information can give people inaccurate representations about an individual task – this can result in expensive communication catastrophes.
How to Create Your Own WBS Gantt Chart :
A Gantt chart represents mainly an overview that forces people to think about all the tasks involved in the project, how long the project is, and how long each task is expected to take. It can be a very labor-intensive process, but in the end, you can have a complete Gantt chart that satisfies shareholders, upper management and even other project managers.
Identify Your Tasks
The creation of a WBS Gantt chart usually starts with the creation of the work breakdown structure. A Gantt chart work breakdown structure provides a starting point for many projects. Essentially, you’re creating a chart that divides the project into various tasks – starting at the top; you have a general title of the project. Working your way down, you can identify each and every individual task that is required to complete the project.
It often helps to think backward. In other words, think of where you need to be, and then think of how you get there. If your project was to make a sandwich, then “Making a Sandwich” would go at the top of the WBS chart. You would need bread, various toppings, and maybe a tool to spread condiments. You would think about how you want to layer the sandwich with a single task being where you add a single layer to a sandwich. Work your way forward, one layer at a time until the sandwich is complete.
When you’re done, you take these individual tasks and list them on the left side of the Gantt chart. Along the top of the chart, create a timescale. Usually, a single column denotes a single day. That way, as time goes on, you can get a visual representation of where you need to be in your project.
Once you’ve done that, go through each task on your list and write down the estimated time each task is expected to take. This will help you draw the horizontal bars on your Gantt chart.
Identify Task Relationships
For the sequential tasks where the beginning of one task depends on the completion of another, note this relationship down. This activity will help give you a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of your project. Furthermore, it will help you understand when you need to schedule the beginning of each task in your chart.
Organizing your chart in this manner helps you keep the scope of the project under control. To get things done faster, you want to schedule as many things to get done at one time as you can. However, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself so you may not want to schedule too many tasks at once.
Use Software to Your Advantage
The very nature of projects is all about changes. You don’t need to draw a WBS Gantt chart out by hand. There are several free software packages and templates available online which can be used as your own Gantt chart creator. However, no Gantt chart can be completed without first identifying the tasks and the relationship between the tasks. This is why it is so essential if you to complete the first two steps before you attempt to create a Gantt chart on the computer.
Update Your Chart Progress Often
The second advantage of using a computer is that you can update the chart often. Since you don’t need a draw the chart by hand every time that a change occurs, Gantt charts can often be changed. All that’s required is that you make the changes and print another one. As you do, make sure you note which revision of the WBS Gantt chart you’re on. It can be a mistake to continue printing a simple Gantt chart only to get confused with which revision you’re on.
Too see a simple gantt chart template for a project management plan, please have a look at our online gantt chart tool.