5 Tips to Help You Create an Effective Gantt Chart
Project management can be a daunting task especially for managers that are not adequately equipped with the right tools and know-how. One of the things that separate struggling project managers and those that shine at the end of a project is the ability to create an effective Gantt chart that helps deliver a project.
Gantt charts have been used for over a century as an effective project management tool. Their simplicity and user-friendliness have enabled project managers become smart planners – a factor that leads to successful projects.
So, what is a Gantt chart and why is it important?
A Gantt chart is a planning tool that enables you keep track of all tasks by easily visualizing the status of your project from start to finish. Usually represented as a horizontal bar chart, an effective Gantt chart helps you know what you need to do and where you need to get to with just a quick glance.
Gantt charts are extremely important mainly because they also help project managers efficiently and effectively schedule and define task sequence as well as closely monitor resources.
Some projects, especially the big ones such as construction and infrastructure, involve a big team and it is absolutely essential for project managers to create an effective Gantt chart that will enable them manage, monitor, and complete the project within set timelines.
As a project manager, you need workload visibility in order to ensure that no one in your team is overworked or under worked. What a Gantt chart does is that it helps you and your team use less time and energy in completing set goals by making it easier to organize, plan and track tasks.
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When you create an effective Gantt chart, you can enjoy its numerous benefits. Some of these include allowing top level management stay on top of things during an ongoing project.
These charts also ensure that the project remains within the set budget at all times by identifying in advance where resources need to be allocated or shared. They also, and most importantly, help keep everyone on the same page as well as help in enhancing team productivity.
As a project manager, one of your KPIs is to successfully deliver projects on time and within budget. In this article, we shall touch on how to create a Gantt chart that will take your project management skills to the next level.
Top 5 Tips to Help You Create an Effective Gantt Chart
Use Work Breakdown Structure
When using a Gantt chart to map out a massive project, it is highly recommended that you break down some of the complex tasks into sub-tasks. This way, you create a task hierarchy within the chart, which allows you to clearly see the status and progress of each individual task.
This also lets you see which areas need additional resources, how long particular tasks will take to complete, and also helps in estimating how much time is required.
Define the Critical Path
Defining a critical path regardless of the size of the project is crucial. A critical path is used to paint a clear and more precise picture of how the project should flow.
It is used to systematically connect all key activities that are classified as “critical” and time sensitive. You could say that is also more or less the backbone of your project and that it is where you assign the right dependencies between activities. It allows you to see, at a glance, the most suitable progression for your project and be constantly aware of what is needed to get the job done.
Create Progress Bars
Progress bars are equally important when using Gantt charts no matter the size of your project. As a project manager, you need to be fully aware of how long each particular task will take and how that will affect the entire project.
Some tasks are somewhat dependent on others while others are independent – meaning they can be activated in the middle of other tasks. By creating progress bars, you are now able to see which tasks are linked, the dates in which each one begins, and how much times needed for completion.
In order to create an effective Gantt chart, you must include milestones. These are basically “major’ activities that are usually evenly spread across the entire project.
These activities are like targets, if you will, – they help you remain on course throughout the project and mark either the beginning or the end of a particular phase. The trick now is to ensure that you hit all your milestones and you will be on your way to successfully complete and deliver your project as planned. They are also used as motivation boosters – they keep the team going!
Start and Finish Dates
To create an effective Gantt chart, you must develop a calendar that indicates all start and finish dates, not only for the entire project but also for all tasks therein. This helps keep you and your team within the set timeline by being able to see at a glance when the team is expected to work on certain tasks.
As a project manager, there’s so much you can accomplish when you create an effective Gantt chart for your projects. If you need help to easily such charts, we’ve got just the right tool for you. Project Reader is designed for Oracle Primavera and Microsoft Project users. It effectively empowers project management teams to self-manage themselves throughout the project and also helps them remain calm, focused, and most importantly, motivated.
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