What is a Gantt Chart – Here are the basics

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Gantt chart – Definition

A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart that uses a variety of variables to visually show a project plan across time in project management. Modern Gantt charts often display the project’s timeframe and status, as well as who is in charge of each job.

Here’s a quick look at the details which enables you to capture at a glance:

  • How a project breaks down into tasks
  • When each task will begin and end
  • How long each task will take
  • Who’s assigned to each task
  • How tasks relate to and depend on each other
  • When important meetings, approvals, or deadlines need to happen
  • How work is progressing in a project
  • The full project schedule from start to finish

Terminology used

A Gantt chart is a super-simple way to communicate what it will take to deliver a project on time and within budget. That means it’s a whole lot easier to keep your project team and stakeholders on the same page from the get-go.

Reading a Gantt chart really comes down to understanding how the different elements come together to make it work. 

Let’s have some basic terminology so you understand the key parts of a and how they function in a project plan:

  • Task list: Runs vertically down the left of the chart to describe project work and may be organized into groups and subgroups
  • Timeline: Runs horizontally across the top of the chart and shows months, weeks, days, and years
  • Dateline: A vertical line that highlights the current date on the gantt chart
  • Bars: Horizontal markers on the right side of the gantt chart that represent tasks and show progress, duration, and start and end dates
  • Milestones: Yellow diamonds that call out major events, dates, decisions, and deliverables
  • Dependencies: Light gray lines that connect tasks that need to happen in a certain order
  • Progress: it shows how far along work is and indicated by percent complete and/or bar shading
  • Resource assigned: Indicates the person or team responsible for completing a task

Why is a Gantt chart used in project management?

In project management, it is used for planning and scheduling projects. It is incredibly useful because it allows you to simplify complex projects into an easy-to-follow plan and track the status of tasks as work progresses

Gantt charts also help you keep track of project deadlines, milestones, and hours worked so you can spot and address delays or overages before they wreak havoc on your project.

Where are Gantt charts used?

Developed by Henry Gantt in 1915, Gantt charts are useful in almost any industry. Here are just a few types of teams and companies that use Gantt charts to plan, schedule, and execute their projects:

  • Construction
  • Consulting agencies
  • Marketing team
  • Design and Creative
  • Manufacturing
  • Human resources
  • Software Development
  • Event planning

Gantt chart in comparison to other tools

Project Managers use a variety of tools, from Gantt charts, Kanban boards, scrum boards, spreadsheets and task lists that help to keep up with project details, deadlines and to do.

It provides the following feature that put the Gantt chart above others.

  • Build a start to finish timeline for your project
  • Show dependencies between tasks
  • Manage team workload

Sample Gantt Chart

Written by 

Shubham Rawat is an Intern in Knoldus practicing in Agile Studio. He has a strong interest in Technology and is driven by optimism and self-motivation.