How To Use A Gantt Chart

One of the greatest skills anyone can have is the ability to lead others. This isn’t a skill that can be taught in schools or learned from a textbook. Inspiring others to reach their full potential can lead to a rewarding career but only if you can keep all the people involved moving in the same direction.

What is a Gantt Chart?

The reason more than 1/3 of all business projects fail is due to a lack of vision by all parties involved. Completing a large projects is like having many chefs cook a single meal. Even though all the ingredients are there, each chef may have his or her own vision. If one chef sees, tomato sauce and ground beef, he may think spaghetti, while someone else may see the ingredients and think pizza. This is what happens on many projects when the people involved aren’t familiar with the desired, end result. However, if everyone had been given a simple diagram of a sloppy Joe sandwich, everyone would have known exactly what he or she should have been doing. This is what a Gantt chart does for you, it provides a visual reference for people to use as they work to accomplish their goals. This is especially important for IT projects which fail an astounding 60% of the time.

gantt chart

Organization at a Glance

Gannt charts form a grid  crossing necessary achievements with the necessary time frames for achieving them. Best of all, the charts can be updated to reflect current progress. By utilizing Gantt charts everyone involved with the project can see exactly which areas are succeeding and which areas are falling short. This also allows the project manager to divert energy and man hours from areas that may be over achieving to areas that are in danger of missing their respective deadlines. The chart also allows people to see the data, allowing each team associated with the project to compare their performance as compared to the others. Gantt charts also simplify the process of laying out a Critical Path Method (CPM). This effective method of project modeling can be used by virtually any industry from aerospace to the Department of Defense. Fortunately, Gantt charts simplify the process of creating CPM’s which have been around for more than 60 years. 

Creating an Effective Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart can’t be produced until you understand all the processes involved. You may need an arrow or flow chart to determine the necessary steps to complete the project. Once the steps are outlined in the proper order, you can begin to build a Gantt chart to determine how much man power must be dedicated to each process to meet all deadlines. Adding the length of time each step will take allows you to set certain dates as crucial milestones. Of course you would never plan to fail, but not planning every step of a project down to the most cosmetic detail can lead to failure anyway. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a Gannt chart can help to keep all the team members strong so the main task can be accomplished.