Gantt charts are like the hit Korean drama Squid Game–people either love it or hate it (because they don’t get it). Moreover, research indicates that Gantt Charts are one of the most-used planning and controlling tools in projects today.
According to a survey done with 750 project managers, the Gantt Chart was the fourth most-used tool (out of 70 tools and techniques) associated with project management.
No matter which side of the spectrum you are on, seasoned project managers understand the importance of using Gantt charts in their day-to-day work. In this guide, we will simplify the mystery of Gantt charts and learn how project managers can use Gantt scheduling software to up their project management game.
What is a Gantt chart?
Most people confuse a Gantt chart with a project management plan and wrongly do so. Having been developed over a hundred years ago, the Gantt chart tool has proved its resiliency over time.
A Gantt chart is basically a bar chart, which is used for team reporting and helps understand the kind of tasks that you need to do to complete a project successfully. It includes details about planned activities as well as dates, project progress, activity names, activity duration, activity start and finish dates, and more.
One of the most important distinctions between a Gantt chart and a project management plan is that a Gantt chart is useful for progress tracking and reporting; it is not useful for any project planning or organizing.
You should use a robust Gantt chart project management software to make the most of your Gantt chart.
What is a Gantt Chart Project Management Software?
A Gantt chart software is a widely used project management tool that demonstrates what needs to be done and when in an easy-to-understand visual format. Whether you want to monitor the project schedule or get insights into the interdependencies between tasks, a Gantt chart software comes in handy.
When using a Gantt chart, remember that one task must be completed before moving on to the next.
When to Use a Free Online Gantt Chart Maker?
With the basics underway, let’s address the most important question you may have: “When to use a free Gantt chart maker online?”
You should use a Gantt chart maker online when:
- You are driving a project that requires multiple people to perform a variety of tasks
- You want an overview of the project’s key milestones, deadlines, completed tasks, and project roadmap
- You want to drive large-scale projects with greater efficiency
- You want important details about the project, such as project start and finish dates for each task, roles and responsibilities for each member performing the task, dependencies of tasks, resources needed for each task, the time needed for each task, and how the tasks are related to each other
The takeaway: Think of a Gantt chart as a guiding map for your team members to follow throughout the project.
360-degree Advantages of a Gantt Chart Software
In this section, we will look at what defines as the best Gantt chart software. We will also look at the benefits of using a Gantt chart online maker–whether you use it in the form of a free Excel Gantt chart template or a full-fledged Gantt chart software.
A Gantt chart software is a multi-purpose tool that helps project managers to:
Optimize the Workflow and Automate Processing
An optimized project workflow makes teamwork more transparent, productive, and friction-free. It also makes collaboration among teams (both remote and on-site) more easy and more fun, ensuring everyone is on the same page at all times.
Moreover, team members can stay laser-focused on the tasks while working with greater accountability for their individual tasks.
Accelerate and Improve the Project Management Process
This tool allows project managers to set up their projects in no time at all, as they can track the project progress as well as status with a single glance.
They can also manage multiple projects at a time without any chaos or confusion impeding the project’s progress.
Easily Navigate Between Different Tasks
The project managers can use Gantt charts to toggle between tasks at the click of a button. Using the board view, they can:
- Manage every little detail of the task
- Invite key internal and external stakeholders to collaborate on a project
- Share the project plan with others in real-time and set filters as needed
- Attach important files and get notifications as well as leave comments, ensuring seamless teamwork
Get a High-Level Overview of The Project Progress and Status
Gantt charts are the doorway into how your project is faring. Whether you want to understand the timelines for each task and how every task relates to each other, or you wish to indicate how a task can get initiated only after related tasks are completed.
This bird’s eye view of the project activities drives informed decision-making among managers and allows them to course-correct while eliminating project hurdles.
Allocate Resources Optimally
As per PMI, lack of resources is one of the primary reasons for project failure. This is where a Gantt chart software can help project managers to manage their resources more optimally as it illustrates task overlaps and dependencies.
They can also set realistic deadlines for the project and assign resources accordingly, ensuring that the right team members are working on the right tasks at all times.
More importantly, project managers can quickly reassign resources in instances of unpredictable issues cropping up.
Track Key Elements Within a Project
A Gantt chart software is essentially a robust tracking tool–from tracking tasks and constraints to monitoring the workflow and key performance indicators, it can help managers to stay on top of their projects without breaking a sweat.
Here’s a handy cheat sheet for you when making a Gantt chart. Use these expert-approved tips to elevate your project management expertise:
|Gantt Chart Benefit||How It Helps the Project Manager|
|1. Identify necessary tasks and think through a project plan||Helps better define the project scope and boosts project clarity|
|2. Determine ‘when’ tasks need to be completed||Helps identify task predecessors and dependencies|
|3. Discover a project’s critical path||Helps identify the most important tasks that the team must deliver on time|
|4. Keep the team in the loop about progress or changes in real-time||Helps eliminate the need for constant status updates/meetings|
|5. Simplify complex tasks in a visual timeline||Helps present complex data in smaller, digestible segments|
|6. Allows the ability to allocate resources across simultaneous tasks in a project||Helps assign the right resources to the right tasks at the right time|
|7. Real-time access to the chart allows managers to share the Gantt chart in the moments||Helps managers plan project iterations/ sprints and drive projects on time|
|8. Track, analyze, and compare planned versus actual timelines||Helps understand whether the planned timelines are reasonable, specific, and achievable|
|9. Instant and on-the-go access to charts||Helps drive seamless collaboration between different stakeholders|
|10. Identify overdue tasks||Helps managers to undertake proactive measures to mitigate issues|
Disadvantages of Using a Gantt Chart Software
Now that we have a good understanding of the benefits of using a Gantt chart software, let’s look at its limitations:
- A Gantt chart software has a learning curve, and using it for beginners can be challenging as well as time-consuming.
- With large-scale projects and numerous tasks, sub-tasks, and activities, the Gantt chart can become convoluted and complicated to understand and lose its basic essence.
- A Gantt chart software does not solely focus on showcasing the task ‘priority,’ which can make it confusing for team members working on a project.
- A Gantt chart does not throw detailed insights into task dependencies. It will not elaborate on intricate details that revolve around dependent tasks. This is why it is recommended that project managers use the (PERT) chart in sync with the Gantt chart.
Among a sea of different project management softwares, Gantt chart softwares are extremely useful. A Gantt chart software illustrates complex project data such as tasks and activities in an easy-to-digest and visually-appealing manner. Since the tasks are displayed clearly, everyone understands the role they play in driving the project to success.
Needless to say, Gantt charts play an instrumental role in project planning today and will continue to do so in the future.
For many project managers, Gantt charts have emerged as a ‘shared language’ that brings the team together and ensures a great track record of having delivered winning projects, time after time.
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