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The Benefits of Gantt Charts in Project Management

The purpose of Gantt charts is to keep team members on the same page by providing a clear visual representation of the project timeline. Gantt charts allow users to build out project roadmaps by prioritizing tasks, mapping out milestones, and tracking dependencies.

In this article, we examine why Gantt charts are great for project management and share customizable Gantt chart templates.

What is a Gantt chart?

Gantt charts are horizontal bar charts that represent a project’s schedule as a timeline. 

By laying all individual tasks out on one timeline, Gantt charts enable a quick visual overview of a project’s schedule and progress. Gantt charts can help you manage your team’s time, resources, budgets, and reveal project delays – should those happen to occur.

Since Gantt charts display tasks in relation to time, they give project teams easy access to critical project data like:

  • Planned upcoming tasks
  • Duration of each task
  • Task dependencies
  • Overlap in tasks
  • Resources assigned to each task

Evolution of Gantt chart

1890s: Karol Adamiecki, a Polish engineer and a graduate of the Institute of Technology of St. Petersburg, Russia, invents a chart known as a “harmonogram” to help develop a new method of scheduling work.

The final and improved version of Adamiecki’s innovation is later published in a 1931 article titled “Harmongraf” in Przegląd Organizacji (Organizational Review).

Karol Adamiecki's Harmongraf
Karol Adamiecki's Harmongraf

Adamiecki is rarely credited as a pioneer of workflow management, but the introduction of his harmonogram to industries including mechanical factories, agriculture, mining, and chemicals led to increases in output between 100% - 400%.

1910s: Henry L. Gantt, an American mechanical engineer, uses Adamiecki’s framework to create his version of the chart. It’s initially developed to assess the daily productivity of employees, but evolves into tracking schedules based on time rather than output quantity:

A Gantt Progress Chart Use in a Plant

Because Gantt’s improvements on Adamiecki’s system led to Gantt charts becoming mainstream in Western countries, his name became synonymous with them.

1980s and 1990s: The popularization of computers during the 80s allows Gantt charts to become more sophisticated. Users can create more detailed charts and collaborate using web-based applications.

2020s: Today, Gantt charts are the most widely used project management tool. They are used to manage complex projects in different industries like construction, finance, product development, and IT, and work well alongside complex methodologies such as Agile project management.

How to create a Gantt chart

To break down large projects into more manageable parts so that you can start assigning responsibilities to your team, enter the start, duration, or end dates of your tasks. Here’s a framework to help you get started:

  • Review the scope of the project
  • Create tasks
  • Organize your tasks in a logical sequence
  • Assess available resources 
  • Breakdown the duration of each task

Using these steps, you can easily calculate and monitor your project's schedule.

What makes Gantt charts so popular

Working with any type of project management template is beneficial to keep projects on track. Gantt charts are so popular because they:

Help manage complex projects

Gantt charts help you visualize deadlines and break down projects into more manageable parts, letting you group similar tasks together and spot potential issues before they occur. 

Help to meet deadlines

Gantt charts work like maps – they allow you to spot shortcuts and shift to a different route in case of an obstacle.  

Increase accountability

Trusting your team to own and complete their tasks on time is a key trait of a good project manager.  A Gantt chart helps you accomplish this by providing each team member with visibility into what needs to be accomplished and when. Clear mapping of dependencies makes it easy to identify who is on track and who might cause a project completion date to slip.

Define project's critical path with ease

Critical paths are the set of tasks that determine the duration of a project as a whole. Critical path delays often result in a delay in the overall project. Gantt charts allow you to identify a project’s critical path with one click. It allows project managers to determine which tasks need to be completed on time in order to stay on schedule. Here’s an example of a critical path in Spreadsheet.com’s Product Launch Plan with Issues & Risks template:

Critical Path in Product Launch Plan with Issues & Risks Template
Critical Path in Product Launch Plan with Issues & Risks Template

Boost productivity

Gantt charts allow all project stakeholders to monitor the progress of the project in real time. Using a Gantt chart, your team can plan their next steps based on the project’s progress. Staying aligned on tasks allows teams to achieve greater productivity. 

Improve resource allocation

Gantt charts make it easy to see the capacity of available resources. As a result, project managers can delegate tasks to team members and align resources more efficiently.

Help understand dependencies

Many tasks rely on the completion of other tasks or milestones before the work can begin. Representing these dependencies visually is one of the features that make Gantt charts so powerful. In Spreadsheet.com’s Gantt views, if one task’s completion date is delayed, the rest of the project timeline is automatically adjusted to reflect that.

Ease team communication

Because Gantt charts provide a clear visual representation of the project, they play an essential role in communicating deadlines and dependencies to the team.

With Spreadsheet.com’s Gantt chart templates, you can take communication a step further by adding in-cell messages to communicate with your team and document the details of important milestones. 

In-cell Messages in Spreadsheet.com
In-cell Messages in Spreadsheet.com

Gantt charts come in different shapes and sizes

Gantt charts can fit any type of project – from kitchen remodeling to a product roadmap.  

Here are a few options to create your own Gantt chart:

Excel Gantt charts
Gantt Chart Template by Vertex42
Gantt Chart Template by Vertex42

For teams who run everything on Excel, there is a variety of Excel project management templates with Gantt charts developed by Vertex42. Use them to create a project plan with an easy-to-manage overview of your resources and project timelines.

Spreadsheet.com Gantt chart templates

Spreadsheet.com's Gantt Views feature allows you to manage timelines, project progress, task owners, dependencies, and milestones alongside your worksheet data.

Gantt Chart Template
Spreadsheet.com Gantt Chart

Here are a few Gantt chart templates to help you get started:

With an intuitive interface combined with the ability to customize every worksheet, Spreadsheet.com templates are designed to streamline your project management process.

Choose a template, modify it to fit your project and streamline tasks, dependencies, and milestones across the board.

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