What is a Gantt Chart and what is it for? These are two questions that any professional of the Planning and Project Controls industry has asked at some point. Before getting into flour, we want to highlight that we are facing one of the tools within project planning that have had the most since its inception back in 1910. Are you ready?
What is a Gantt Chart?
The Gantt Chart is a tool used in project planning. In Project 2080 we like to consider the Gantt Schedule as the final result of the planning work. After carrying out all the tasks during the planning process of a project, we obtain a bar chart that helps us to identify within a timeline the activities, activity packages, and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) that visually represent the scope of our project. In other words, a Gantt Chart shows us which activities need to be completed and by what date.
Although we have already seen what a Gantt Chart is, we must distinguish the Gantt Graph when it is part of the tendering phase and when it is part of the execution phase of the project.
Gantt Chart on the tendering phase
In the planning phase of a project, the first Gantt Schedule that we must create is in the tendering phase. In this case, the Gantt Chart that represents the scope of our project presents a lower and constant level of detail from the beginning to the end of the project.
Gantt Chart as part of the execution phase
However, in the execution phase of the project, the Gantt Chart will be a much more detailed bar graph. It is important to note that, in long-term projects, the level of detail of certain activities that are carried out at a later stage of the project is less than that of activities that are in the beginning phase of the project. As the project progresses, the level of detail of our activities is expanded, thus breaking down the initial Gantt Chart.
What is a Gantt Chart for?
Once we already answer the question about what is a Gantt Chart and its level of detail, the question that addresses us is what is a Gantt Chart for. In general, the Gantt Chart can show us:
- Activities: activities, activity packages, and project Work Breakdown Structure. When we create the Gantt Chart of our activity schedule, thanks to the WBS or Work Breakdown Structure we are able to assign our activities to the corresponding project phase.
- Dates: start date and finish date of the project. In this case, the bar chart can show the dates of the project baseline, monthly versions of the schedule, as well as the estimated forecast made in the current month. In addition, our Gantt Chart can show us the earliest and latest dates, as well as dates linked to restrictions, or dates in which an activity has been suspended.
- Resources: the resources necessary to carry out each activity. Within each activity, the estimate of necessary resources can be included.
- Activity Relationship. The Gantt Chart also shows what is the logical relationship between activities, such as Finiss-Start, Finish-Finish, Start-Start, Start-Finish.
- Progress: it is one of the most important characteristics of a Gantt Chart. Thanks to the Gantt chart, it is shown exactly how the execution of the project is developing. Thanks to the Gantt Chart, we are able to compare both dates, resource times, and percentage of performance.
- Earned Value Management (EVM): the Gantt Chart also serves to show us all the indicators that are taken into account in Earned Value Management. All these indicators will help us to carry out an adequate Project Control, including everything related to S-curves.
- Other types of information, such as project progress photographs, “curtains” to visually identify certain moments of the project.
Why is a Gantt Chart so important in project planning and project controls?
To answer the question of why is a Gantt Chart so important in project planning, we have to take into account the objectives we seek in project management.
Clear projects thanks to the Gantt Chart
First of all, clarity. Both our client and our project team seek to be able to clearly review the current status of the project and its progress. The Gantt Chart facilitates the reading of the project, being able to clearly identify where we are in the project, what we have done to date, and what work is still pending. Likewise, we can clearly compare project progress to the progress we expected based on the project baseline. In addition, the fact of being able to add the necessary resources to execute the tasks to our schedule of activities gives us visibility on whether we are using the resources properly or if, on the contrary, the project is executing under lower performance than expected. Finally, clarity is also shown at the cost level.
The Gantt Bar Chart improve communication with your team
Thanks to the clarity with which the Gantt Chart shows the status of a project, communication with the rest of the project team and with our client is carried out in a more comfortable way. The Gantt Chart is the “language” that all parties involved in the project know. Thanks to it, they can more effectively review the project status in the different planning meetings during the life of the project.
New collaboration links in your projects
In a project, due to the connection between the different phases and work teams, it is important that all parties have an understanding of the progress of the project at a general level and of its package of activities at a particular level. When someone is aware that a delay in their tasks impacts the progress of the tasks of other departments and colleagues, a nexus of collaboration between departments is created, as well as a better organization of the tasks to be carried out.
The Gantt Chart improves the organization of resources
A good Gantt Chart helps us to clearly visualize the impact that some tasks have on others. In the same way, it shows us the relationship that exists between departments for the correct development of the project. That is why during planning meetings, the schedule of activities will help us set target dates. Thus, the rest of the project team will take them into account for a better organization of their own resources.
When carrying out changes in the scope of a project, due to additional projects or new annexes to the contract, as well as when project schedule compression techniques are performed, the Gantt Chart is very useful since it offers us a general view of the project, being an elastic and flexible tool in the face of such changes.
IN PROJECT 2080 WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO REMEMBER
Our article about the first steps to know what a Gantt Chart is served as a first approach to the Gantt Diagram. In the same way, we taught you how to make a Gantt Chart step by step. This article has helped you to keep progressing your knowledge about the Gantt Chart. What is a Gantt Chart, why is a Gantt Chart so important in project planning, and what is a Gantt Chart for. As we have already mentioned, it is one of the key tools in the world of Planning and Project Controls. The Gantt Chart is capable of turning the complexity of a project into something easy to understand.
The Gantt Chart can be done using an excel sheet, in word, or in professional project planning tools, such as Primavera P6. In any case, these bar schedules need to be fed regularly. In this way, we can know the status of the project, as well as the progress and pending tasks for its completion.