Gantt charts are commonly used by project management teams to understand the current status and plan the future activities of the project. Most of the departments such as engineering, procurement, production, construction etc. are managing their tasks, departmental works, responsibilities and plans by gathering inputs provided by gantt charts. In this article we will discuss how to create effective gantt charts.
Gantt charts are specifically presented with dates at the top of the chart and a list of activities in the rows. Activities are presented as horizontal bars and the length of the bar shows the activity duration. Start point of the bar is the start date and the end point is the finish date. Gantt charts are usually created in Excel or even specialized project management softwares.
How to Create Effective Gantt Charts ?
Make a Task List at an Appropriate Level of Detail
Task lists should be created at an appropriate level of detail in order to monitor their performance efficiently. If there is too much detail, it will be difficult to create and update the gantt chart regularly. On the other hand, if the detail level is too less, the gantt chart can not represent adequately the real conditions and phases of the project.
Assign Right Dependencies
In general, there are four dependency types between the activities:
– Finish to Start (FS)
– Start to Start (SS)
– Finish to Finish (FF)
– Start to Finish (SF)
The only possible way of determining the critical path of a project is to assign right dependencies between the activities. These dependencies should be clearly represented on the Gantt chart so that the project management team can easily recognize the critical path and make sure those activities are completed on time.
Create a Specific Calendar for the Project
Weekends, public holidays and non-work days should be specified while creating a Gantt Chart. Calendars are dependent on the client, and if the client has definite time constraints, make sure that the time constraints are clearly marked on the Gantt Chart. If your project is extending to years, you may define the timescale of your Gantt Chart in terms of months. Timescale of short-term projects can be defined in terms of weeks or days.
Brainstorm with Your Team
It is a good way to make brainstorming for the chart with your team to ensure you have not missed out on anything important. Also share the gantt chart with key stakeholders and receive their feedbacks before submitting it to the client.
Gantt charts build bridges between management teams, project managers, clients and stakeholders. Resources in charge of each activity can be clearly represented, dependencies for each activity can be marked and time constraints can be visually presented by the help of Gantt Charts. From this point of view creating effective gantt charts establishes effective communication channels between the parties.