What is a Gantt Chart

Posted by Kevin Brady on Thu 14th May 2009 at 02:04 PM, Filed in Programme ManagementMSP(managing successful projts)Project Management

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project Schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates for group of tasks and the tasks themselves necessary to deliver a Projects Objectives. These tasks are typically arranged in accordance with a known Work Breakdown Structure. Gantt charts also show the dependencies /relationships between tasks and activities (task groups). Gantt charts can be used to show current schedule status using percent-complete shadings and a vertical “TODAY” line as shown in the above picture.

In the 1980s, personal computers eased the creation and editing of elaborate Gantt charts. These desktop applications were intended mainly for project managers and project schedulers. Although now regarded as a common charting technique, Gantt charts were considered revolutionary when they were first introduced. In recognition of Henry Gantt’s contributions, the Henry Laurence Gantt Medal is awarded each year for distinguished achievement in management and community services.

The first known Gantt Chart was developed in 1896 by Karol Adamiecki, who called it a harmonogram. Adamiecki did not publish his chart until 1931, however, and only then in a language not popular in the West. The chart thus now bears the name of Henry Gantt (1861–1919), who designed his chart around the years 1910–1915 and marketed the idea in the West.
In the 1980s, personal computers eased the creation and editing of elaborate Gantt charts. These desktop applications were intended mainly for project managers and project schedulers. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Gantt charts became a common feature of web-based applications, including collaborative groupware.
Advantages and limitations

Gantt charts have become a common technique for representing the phases and activities of a project work breakdown structure (WBS), so they can be understood by a wide audience.
Although a Gantt chart is useful and valuable for small projects that fit on a single sheet or screen, they can become quite unwieldy for projects with more than about 30 activities. Larger Gantt charts may not be suitable for most computer displays. A related criticism is that Gantt charts communicate relatively little information per unit area of display. That is, projects are often considerably more complex than can be communicated effectively with a Gantt chart.

Gantt charts only represent part of the triple constraints of projects, because they focus primarily on schedule management. Moreover, Gantt charts do not represent the size of a project or the relative size of work elements, therefore the magnitude of a behind-schedule condition is easily miscommunicated. If two projects are the same number of days behind schedule, the larger project has a larger impact on resource utilization, yet the Gantt does not represent this difference.

Although project management software can show schedule dependencies as lines between activities, displaying a large number of dependencies may result in a cluttered or unreadable chart.
Because the horizontal bars of a Gantt chart have a fixed height, they can misrepresent the time-phased workload (resource requirements) of a project.

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