Advantages and Disadvantages of Gantt Charts
If you are working in the field of project management, you must have heard of a Gantt Chart. If you are not, most probably you have never heard. But what is a Gantt Chart ? Is it a software for advanced project management or a tool for just creating a work schedule. Basically Gantt charts are visual presentation tools that demonstrates activities or deliverables of a project scheduled over time. You can use them for planning any type and size of projects and to what work is scheduled to be done on a specific date. They also provide you a view of the start and finish dates of a project in one simple chart. In this article we will review the advantages and disadvantages of Gantt Charts in project time management.
Let’s get started.
Gantt charts are widely used tools in project time management to create and update project work schedules. They are often prepared by the help of desktop or online softwares for various projects in today’s world. You can insert tasks, group them under specific WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) levels. In more detailed versions, you can also see critical path by inserting activity relationships.
A Gantt Chart often includes below information;
- Start and end date of a project
- Major deliverables
- Major milestones
- Start and end dates of the tasks
- How tasks are grouped under specific groups or levels
- Duration of each task
Gantt Chart Softwares
Development of personal computers allows project managers to create and update work schedules in a short period of time. Gantt Chart softwares are used for project scheduling, project planning and management purposes to automate the process. Primavera P6, Microsoft Project Professional and other softwares and desktop programs enable project managers to create complete and collaborative Gantt charts and projects plans.
Most of the people working in the field of project managemebt create Gantt Charts in Excel which does not have capability of assigning activity relationships. In order to use more features such as resource allocation, resource levelling, assigning activity relationships, assigning different calendars you must use softwares.
Desktop softwares are suitable for one manager who manages just one project. However online softwares enables to manage multiple projects. Users can access to the system and download reports from anywhere where there is an internet connection. This imporves communication and collaboration within the project team because all of them become aware of the current project status when they use the online software.
Who Uses the Gantt Charts?
In today’s world anyone can use a Gantt Chart who wants to take the advantage of having a complete schedule. Because Gantt Charts help to visualize the activities and milestones. You can just create activities, assign activity relationships and resources because all the difficult work wiill be done by computer for you.
Gantt Charts are efficient tools for project managers, schedulers, planning engineers, project coordinators, team members and anyone who wants to have a work schedule.
They are useful tools for all industries such as construction, engineering, military, manufacturing, infrastructure, mining and IT.
However you need some basic knowledge of project planning and management in order to use the Gantt Charts effectively. You must be aware of basic concepts such as critical path method, estimation tools, baselines etc.
Advantages of Gantt Charts
Gantt Charts have many advantages from project manager and stakeholder perspective .Below are some advantages of it.
- It is a tool for representing project work schedule.
- It is easy to create.
- It is a visual tool.
- It is easy for stakeholder’s and project teams to understand the work schedule
- It enhances team productivity
- Different activity groups can be represented on the same schedule in one chart
- It improves communication and coordination among stakeholders in order to complete tasks as per work schedule
- It supports procurement processes by showing delivery dates
- It helps to control the project status by comparing the planned dates shown on the chart
- It helps project and department managers to easily coordinate their teamwork
- It is a communication tool that improves stakeholder’s decision making.
Disadvantages of Gantt Charts
As we mentioned above, a Gantt Chart is an effective tool that allows to create and update work schedules. However it has some disadvantages.
- Without a software, it is hard to prepare and update the work schedule in a short period of time
- It is not easy to see all the activities in a complex project
- It can be very time consuming in large and complex projects
- Without a software, it is not possible to assign resources to tasks
- Without a software, it is not possible to make resource levelling
- It is difficult to see everything on one sheet of paper
- It is difficult to re align the activities from one WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) level to another
Project teams often need to plan activities and allocate resources in multiple projects across the organization. Gantt charts are communication and collaboration tools which supports resource management and manpower management across projects. Project teams and stakeholders can easily understand and manage the projects by the help of it because of it’s clarity in visual representation.
However Gantt charts have some difficulties in updating and organizing the work schedules without using softwares.
In this article we discuss the advantages and disadvantage of Gantt Charts. Hope that it will be useful for candidates who seek to build a career in the field of project management.
How to Create Effective Gantt Charts ?
Gantt Charts as Planning Tools – Boston University