How Do I Create a Professional Gantt Chart?
Online project management and team collaboration software have become essential for successful and timely completion of projects, ensuring the entire project team contributes and stays in the loop. Some project management tools come equipped with an array of high-level features including a Gantt chart maker.
One such project management tool is projectmanager which is a 100% online technology enabling all team members who are online to view and update tasks and collaborate in real time with total visibility. Primavera is another project management tool that compares in features and pricing with other leading PM systems like Basecamp and Asana.
A Gantt chart is a graphical depiction used for task scheduling and is considered an important element of project management tools. It is a type of bar chart displaying the beginning, duration and ending timelines of the various milestones and resource elements within a project. Gantt charts are easy to make and people even build their own Gantt charts in Word, Excel, and Google Sheets, etc.
Google Sheets is a popular alternative to Excel, as it's flexibility and sharing options make it a good project planning option for simple projects that can be managed in shared spreadsheets. While Google doesn't offer a comprehensive project management app, it does provide various apps in Workspace that companies can use for managing projects. Google Tasks is comparable to MS Planner in many of the task management features offered as well.
While Gantt chart software has a free version too, it offers limited features and is only good for smaller project teams or those with lower budget. A paid Gantt chart offers access to advanced features, enabling greater ease in project planning and scheduling, and managing task dependencies.
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How Do I Create a Professional Gantt Chart?
Gantt charts can both be made using Gantt chart software or with online project management software or even in Excel. Naturally, the Gantt Chart software allows you to do more such as set up a WBS, allocate resources, assign tasks, update task status and monitor task progress in real time. So which chart columns do you set up in a professional Gantt chart?
Here’s an insight into some integral components that you must include in your Gantt chart for a quick and easy, high-level view of the project status.
- Task name: the title and description of your project.
- Planned start date: the date that you plan to initiate your project.
- Task and Resource Allocations: specifications of names against resources and tasks.
- Planned project timeline: details of the planned timeline for achieving milestones and completing the project.
- Task Status: updating the progress of tasks in real time to make a precise estimate of whether the planned timeline will be met.
- Task Dependencies: highlights the link between tasks and the critical path.
How Do I Manually Create a Gantt Chart?
A variety of chart templates for making Gantt Charts for Excel and full-featured project management tools such as MS Project or ProjectManager are available online. MS Project and MS Planner are often used together to create a more robust suite of project tools using Microsoft products. MS Project integrates with MS Teams for a collaboration element of project planning, so if you already use many of the Microsoft apps and products in your business, adding these on for projects can be a good option. MS Project is feature-packed compared to Excel and a good option for projects involving teams.
These Gantt chart tools feature two halves with task names and relevant information in the left half, and horizontally running corresponding bar charts on the right. The length of these bars represents the potential time duration they are expected to take. Irrespective of the choice of tool that you’re manually drawing the Gantt Chart for, you need to follow these fundamental steps:
- Prepare a list of tasks and identify major milestones.
- Define the beginning, time frame and end of each task, and fill out the bar chart timeline.
- Create a project timeline.
- Map out task dependencies, so that parent tasks and subordinate tasks can be easily told apart and assign tasks to your team.
- Develop the critical path.
However, if you’re looking for a more detailed step-by-step guide into the manual development of a Gantt chart in Word, here is what you ought to do:
- Open a new document in Word and select the Landscape orientation from the Layout tab. Then from the Insert tab, select Chart to browse through the various chart options. For your Gantt chart design, pick the Stacked Bar Chart.
- Once a a standard chart is generated, you can replace the placeholder data with your own data and change the style, type, size, and color scheme of your chart. For beginning your project work on your Gantt chart, the Operations Manager must first define the main tasks, and the Scheduling Manager must assign dates to each task as a milestone. Add task descriptions in Column A alongside their names.
- For proper display of information, format columns B and C before data entry. Choose Format Cells from the shortcut menu and select the desired date format in the dialogue box, from the Type menu.
- Calculate the task duration of your task by making use of this formula =$C2-$B2 in cell D2, and apply the formula on the whole column by selecting the cell and dragging its fill handle down the column D.
- To truly turn your Stacked Bar Chart graphic into a Gantt chart, you will need to lose some of the bar colors, making them transparent, leaving behind only the grey ones.
- By applying chart effects, such as adding a new color and highlighting individual tasks, and different chart styles from the Chart Tools Format tab, you can customize your Gantt chart to make it a better fit for your business presentations.
What is Gantt Chart Example?
A good example of using Gantt Charts would be for a work environment that has a casual project management style lacking proper task allocation, and no one is certain of their responsibilities as a team.
Using a Gantt Chart template that breaks down project activities, and clearly defines the division of time for each member’s daily duties, would sort many problems. Using the right chart editor, you can use the template as a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly schedule.
You can add the images of your own team members, make changes to the text, the color scheme, and extend or shorten the bars, to suit your project needs and preferences.
Making use of bars and color modes to highlight important task information, Gantt charts can provide a useful visual to aid you in project management. A Gantt chart defines the tasks against the names of your team members, eliminating the probability of assigning one person multiple tasks or no tasks at all. It also enables project managers to you define the task order.
If you haven’t previously tried using a Gantt Chart in your projects, it’s never too late to try and benefit from all it has to offer. Project management software is a centralized project planning system packed with tools for successful project completion and budgeting, and many include specific tools for different project methodologies and Gantt chart creations.