As a project manager, you’ve already heard about the Gantt chart. It is the planning tool par excellence. It allows you to plan your project in the best way possible and to quickly visualize the progress of the different tasks to be carried out. It is also a good communication tool since it allows all the members of a team to follow the established schedule and to know the progress of the project in real time.
Very much used in project management, the Gantt chart is a method that has proved itself for many years.
The Origins of the Gantt Chart
In 1896 Karol Adamiecki (1866-1933), an economist, engineer and researcher in Polish management, would be the first to create a diagram to visualize in time the different tasks of a project: the Adamieckiego Harmonogram.
However, when he described it in 1931, the language of publication prevents his idea of being recognized internationally.
The Gantt chart is therefore named after its inventor, Henry Laurence Gantt (1861-1919). In 1910, this mechanical engineer and management consultant developed his famous diagram in order to improve the organization of the workshops. Initially, the tool is only efficient for simple projects. In 1957, it was developed by Morgan R. Walker and James E. Kelley, the inventors of the Critical Path Method (CPM) to manage large-scale projects. The Gantt chart has been used on major projects such as the Hoover dam or the interstate highway network in the United States.
Reasons to Use the Gantt Chart
Today, this efficient tool can be used for all types of projects. Here are 6 reasons why you should also use it.
- Helps to Plan
The Gantt chart provides a simple way to view all scheduled tasks in a project, along with their due dates.
So you can see at a glance:
- All tasks to be performed
- The start date and the end date of each task
- The expected duration of each task
- The possible superposition of certain tasks, and the duration of this overlay
- The start date and the end date of the project
- The specific conditions for starting a task
So you know where you are in the progress of your project and the different tasks that mark it.
- Improves the Organization of Work
With the Gantt chart, you and your team have a complete view of your project, tasks in progress and those to come. You can better manage your priorities, urgent tasks and important tasks, anticipate possible delays, etc.
To effectively manage a project, you and your team must be prepared and organized, and above all, you must have all the information necessary for the smooth running of the project.
For example, in the kitchen, prepare a recipe is a step-by-step process. First, you have to identify all the ingredients and utensils you need, know the preparation time, in what order to mix the ingredients and the cooking time.
This is exactly the same in project management. You must identify all the tasks required to carry out the project, their durations and the order in which they are to be carried out. You also need to know your budget, the possible risks and the resources you have.
On the planning side, the Gantt diagram helps you to be better organized and thus allows you to be more efficient in the management of your project.
- Structures your thoughts
Because a project has many tasks, it is easy to be disoriented and no longer know where to start.
The Gantt chart helps you to see more clearly in your planning. It is a good tool that allows you to identify all the tasks necessary for the smooth running of your project, but also to define the order in which they must be carried out.
Once your thoughts and actions are structured into tasks, you are more efficient in your work and you can carry out your project in the best conditions.
- Facilitates Communication
The major asset of the Gantt chart. It is visual. Thus, it facilitates the understanding of each collaborator and simplifies the communication within the project team. You can also use color codes to draw attention to critical points. Everything becomes simpler with images!
In addition, it is an excellent support for your work meetings, and you can also use it to alert your superiors to the need for additional resources that have been poorly budgeted at the start of the project. To go even further in simplification, use collaborative project management software.
Depending on the progress or delay in your project, you can reorganize the tasks to optimize your internal resources as well as the external services. The diagram you have made at the beginning of your project will necessarily be different from the one obtained at the end of the project. Your job will be to manage the hazards as well as possible.
Remember: to be effective, the Gantt chart must be updated daily.
- Adaptable to all Projects
All projects, whatever their domain and size, are composed of different tasks, durations, deadlines. From a small project associative to the construction of a nuclear power plant, it is possible to plan everything with the Gantt diagram.
The Gantt chart is an excellent project management tool and allows you to effectively plan and follow the different stages of your project. However, this management tool requires a great deal of preparation. It is necessary to define all the tasks of the project, allocate them, and evaluate their duration and budgeting, but once this work is done; you will have a perfect vision of your project and will be able to make the decisions adapted to each situation.
Last Advice: do not overload your diagram so that it remains clear and understandable by all. If it becomes illegible and incomprehensible, then you can create sub-diagrams.