A Gantt chart* helps managers and teams visually plan and track projects. It combines a table of tasks to be accomplished along with assignment details and timelines showing their status.
Gantt charts were developed by mechanical engineer Henry Gantt more than 100 years ago and have been a staple of project managers ever since. The reason is that they are simple and intuitive to create and use, but display a considerable amount of information at a glance.
Here's an example of a Gantt chart:
While Gantt charts are similar to timelines in that both diagram types deal with time and events, the format and purpose of a Gantt chart are quite different.
Purpose of a Gantt Chart
Projects have a lot of moving parts. They are usually time-sensitive, so making sure everything is planned properly and runs on schedule are crucial to successful completion.
Gantt charts are an excellent tool for small to mid-size projects involving multiple people. They are easy to create and use. It doesn't require a lot of time or effort to make a Gantt chart and keep it up to date if you use a good, intuitive software program. Read the five basics steps of managing a project using Gantt charts.
Once you get the hang of it, you can take your Gantt charts to the next level using some tips from successful project managers.
Gantt Charts | Pros and Cons
Is a Gantt chart the right solution to use for planning and managing your project? Here are some of the most commonly cited pros and cons and how to turn the negatives in your favor.
10 Secrets for a Successful Project
Managing a project is a tough challenge. There are a lot of moving pieces. Surprises inevitably arise. But there isn't time to waste.
So how do you make an efficient plan? How do you communicate and direct team members most effectively? How do you eliminate time waste?
For answers to these questions and more, check out these 10 secrets of successful project managers.
How to Turn a Mind Map into a Gantt Chart
One of the easiest ways to plan a project is with a mind map. Unfortunately, a mind map isn't as effective a tool for tracking and viewing progress as a Gantt chart. But having to re-enter the data from a mind map into a Gantt chart is a huge waste of time and energy.
That's why SmartDraw lets you use both a mind map and Gantt chart and shares the data between them. Enter your project data in either diagram, then simply toggle between them. All of your data updates automatically. You can also view your project in an assignment or timeline view.
Additional Resources for Making Gantt Charts
Video: Creating Gantt Charts with SmartDraw
This short video shows how easy it is to create a project plan with SmartDraw. Plan your project with a mind map and then convert it into a Gantt chart with one click. Assign and manage tasks. View them in an assignment chart or on a timeline. Update one view and the others update automatically.
Gantt Chart tutorial
This resource will help you create a Gantt chart using SmartDraw. Screen shots and step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process of planning your project, adding team members, setting milestones, creating task dependencies, and much more. It also shows you how to integrate Microsoft Project® data.
Learn more about project management with SmartDraw.
*Note: Gantt charts and full project management features are only available in the Enterprise Edition of SmartDraw for Windows.