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.   

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Delegation: Increasing Efficiency and Delivering Success

HTS Inc.

delegation At Healthcare Technical Services (HTS), we are always looking for new and innovative ways to grow in an increasingly competitive market. In order to differentiate our company from the competition, HTS strives to deliver our projects on time and under budget, while providing the highest quality of service. In order to achieve project success, it is necessary for our company to think within the constraints of our budget and conceive of innovative methods through which we can increase the efficiency of the project delivery. Throughout the various hospital transitions that HTS has facilitated, our Project Managers have reported much success by practicing task delegation. The process of task delegation consists of distributing and allocating tasks to other members of the HTS Project Team in order to maximize efficiency. The use of this method has yielded positive results, not only within HTS but has enhanced the overall satisfaction of our clients.

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Why Projects Fail

Semi-Frequent Musings on Project Management, Business & Technology

homer failure

I’m sure you have all seen these types of lists on various websites or in your twitter feed (or maybe you haven’t because you subscribe to more interesting types of content than I do), because there are many of them out there. In fact, they write books and publish reports about this sort of thing. Why? Because projects keep failing and we keep trying to figure out what we can do to ensure that OUR projects don’t fail. (Editorial note – I realize that even the term ‘failure’ can be quite subjective and they write books about that sort of thing too).

So, why DO projects fail? Good question, right? Here are a few reasons, from my experience.

1) Unrealistic schedule and/or budget

Ok, this was an easy one so I won’t spend too much time on it. It is worth noting, of course, since it often…

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Don’t Be Fooled

Bulldozer00's Blog

Check out the hypothetical agile burndown and EVM (Earned Value Management) charts below. Like in the “real” world, the example project (or sprint, if you prefer) ended up being underestimated. The shortfall is indicated by the dotted line on the right.

uninverted

When we literally flip the agile burndown chart in the vertical dimension, we get this:

inverted

The moral of the story is: “Don’t be fooled by the agilista herd; an agile burndown chart is nothing but an inverted version of the despised EVM chart.

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Deliverables are NOT Objectives!

MCLMG Publishing & Research Division

Targetted3RedTargetBlueArrows
by Paul Lohnes, MBA, PMP
Published in the Project Post-Gazette, Issue 2014-03,  Project Post-Gazette

This is a strange statement to make, no? However, be that as it may, the truth of the statement is inescapable – deliverables are NOT objectives as so many project managers (PM) and Business Analysts (BA) seem to think. Deliverables are the result of careful planning, properly campaigned objectives towards the goal of producing ‘fit-for-use’ (FFU) deliverables. Thinking of your deliverables as objectives is like thinking that your vacation is the objective instead of the goal of your time off. You can spend your time off in many different ways achieving different results, accomplishing various activities, but the deliverable of your time off, this time or thinking of it as your project, is the production of an enjoyable vacation to the Bahamas. Your objectives would be the series of major tasks or activities grouped into manageable…

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