Project managers use the Gantt chart for project scheduling purposes. With its use, they schedule, and manage activities against time. The aim here is to ensure that the activities will complete within time, avoiding redundancies, but how they can create, and use it. This article will explore ways of both creating, and using the Gantt chart. These are given as follows;
Understanding Gantt chart
Gantt charts are the graphical representation of a project schedule. They assist planners in scheduling work around the deadlines. Planners further assign resources for meeting the project deadlines. This also provides a bird’s eye view of the projects. They exhibit step by step activities in achieving the final project. Moreover, they predict the start, and completion dates of projects as well.
What Are The Components Of A Gantt Chart?
The Gantt chart may vary from project to project. They can also vary in terms of depths and complexity. According to top researchers of a dissertation help firm, all of these have three components. One component entails activities running on the y-axis. The left side of a Gantt chart shows a list of activities for projects. The second component is that of the timescale. The top of project activities reflects a suitable timescale. Third component refers to the progress, or horizontal bars. Bars represent activities for a project in it. The size, and position of these bars highlight the forecast dates of a project. The forecasting is of starting date, duration, and its completion.
Underlying Purpose Behind Using Gantt Chart
The purpose behind using the Gantt chart is as follows;
- To explore various activities in a project.
- To identify when each activity will begin, and end.
- To assess the completion time of each activity.
- To find overlapping activities and their extent.
- To forecast the starting, and ending date of a project.
Comprehensive Guide In Creating Gantt Chart
Review Scope Baseline
Gather the team. A Project manager will discuss the scope baseline with its team and client. The final scope baseline reviews further by the project manager, and its team. The aim in this context is to ensure that it addresses 100% project scope. The final scope baseline comprises of three components as follows;
- Scope Statement.
- Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
- Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary.
The project team will break each WBS component into manageable tasks. These manageable tasks break through a technique called Decomposition. In this technique, each WBS breaks into smaller tasks to be done. The teams set rules for creating the scheduling activities. This is like WBS components. The aim here is to plan the final project schedule efficiently. The breaking down of projects into too many activities is bad. It is bad due to the case of there being too few activities. So it is important to decompose activities into manageable tasks. Moreover, identifying deadlines is essential in decomposing activities as well.
The sequencing of activities means placing the activities in the right order. Moreover, placing them in the right relationships as well. These division s pertaining to the relationships of activities are as follows;
- Finish to Start
- Start to Start
- Start to Finish
- Finish to Finish
Project managers use 1 and 2 relationships more often. The first relationship is a “Sequential Relationship”. Whereas the second relationship is parallel.
In this step, project teams need to estimate the resources. The estimate of resources includes material, equipment, and labour. There are various techniques for estimating resources. These may be Analogous, or parametric technique. Three-point and Bottom-up techniques are useful in estimating the resources as well. The basis of the estimate is competence and skills. Technology is a key base of resource estimation as well. The project team will place its estimation of resources in the schedule section. Another thing that needs to be done in this context is creating a resource calendar. It also provides information on when there will be a further need for the resources.
Duration provides the information of when an activity will start and complete. In this step, the team needs to review the resources, and sequences. After reviewing them, the estimation of duration for each activity needs to be forecast. The team can use this technique in the estimation of resources here. The team should also estimate the duration of each activity with care. Moreover, constraints of activities should be estimated keeping in mind the duration as well. These constraints will determine the limitations on project activity.
Develop a Schedule
This is the final step for creating a Gantt chart. The team can load all the information into the project management software tool at this stage. Other things to be done at this stage are as follows;
- Review the schedule.
- Ensure that the team overcomes all schedule risks.
- Track the plan, and contingencies of the schedules.
- To address schedule contingencies, add buffers.
Buffer is an activity that provides extra time, and minimises schedule risks. To make realistic schedules, resource optimisation techniques are useful as well. These techniques may be that of levelling, or resource smoothing. At the end, the team should review, and approve the schedule. The Gantt chart is ready to use then.
Use Of Gantt Chart By Project Managers
The use of Gantt charts is in heavy industries of projects. These include building dams, highways, or bridges. They may be infrastructure, or secondary industries as well. Moreover, the software development industry often relies on its use. Project managers also use Gantt charts for the following purposes;
Building, and Managing a Project
Gantt charts visualise the building blocks of a project. They assist in organising activities into manageable tasks against time. They further outline dependencies between tasks and assignees, if there are any.
Determine Logistics, and Task Dependencies
Gantt chart determines the logistics of a project. And logistics associated information is vital for every project. It should also be highlighted that task dependencies exhibit new tasks that start after finishing the previous one.
Track Progress Of A Project
Project scheduling in Gantt charts assists planners in tracking the progress. These identify gaps, and make adjustments according to need as well. They release dates, milestones, and other metrics too. All this information helps planners in tracking the progress of projects.
Benefits Of Using A Gantt Chart
There are various benefits of using a Gantt chart in the domain of project management. Some of its benefits are as follows;
- They make it easy to schedule activities against deadlines.
- They assist project managers in assigning resources according to their timescale.
- They provide a comprehensive overview of projects.
- They outline starting date of the project.