Management & Organization

Gantt chart

A Gantt chart is a graphic overview and a time schedule for every one of the elements and connections within a project.

The chart takes the shape of a horizontal pillar diagram that makes it possible to present a visual overview of a project’s different phases, milestones and activities.

The chart’s horizontal axis represents the project’s time consumption divided in intervals (days, weeks, months or years) and the vertical axis represents the assignments that form the project.

The Gantt chart can be used for:

  • Providing a an overview of project activities
  • Planning project activities
  • Helping you plan when different assignments must be solved
  • Allocating resources
  • Communicating project activities
  • Coordinating and managing project activities
  • Monitoring the development in the project’s activities

How to make a Gantt chart

  1. Make a list of the necessary activities/assignments. For example by brainstorming or mind mapping.

  2. Make a draft of the Gantt chart. There may be insufficient resources for solving all assignments at the same time. An some activities require that other activities are completed first.

  3. Determine dependencies and plan activities. This ensures that when the planning is altered, the activities will still be carried out in the right order. Make sure that dependent activities do not begin before the activities they depend on are completed.

    Attempt to limit the length of the project’s critical path: The order of critical assignments from start to finish that requires the most time to complete. It is also the shortest possible amount of time for the project to be completed. Remember, that the critical path can change from time to time as activities are finished before or after schedule. Do not overload resources and allow for a little extra room in the schedule in case of unpredicted events. However, critical assignments shouldn't be given extra time, because they are part of the critical path.

  4. Calculate the amount of man-hours for every activity.

  5. Decide who should conduct which activities and adjust number of hours when necessary.

  6. Calculate throughput time.

Origins

Henry Laurence Gantt (1861-1919) was an engineer and management consultant, but he is most famous for developing the Gantt chart. The method was first presented in the book “Work, Wages and Profit” (1916).