What can you do with a free Gantt chart template? How about making a project schedule for that important project that's not quite on track yet? You know the one. All you need to do is use the built-in Gantt View feature here in Spreadsheet.com, and voila, simple Gantt chart template at your fingertips. Just enter your tasks and start dates, along with either the end date or duration and your project managing has already begun. It couldn't be simpler. It could, however, be more advanced, so if you crave advanced features, we've got you covered. You can use the Project Management settings to define work days, create task dependencies with predecessors, and so forth. But you don't have to.
Looking to learn more? Take a look at the Complete Guide to Gantt Charts article in our project management resource library.
A Gantt chart is a project manager's best friend, one of the most popular and most effective methods for charting the progress of a number of activities over time. A Gantt chart will let you lay out your complete project schedule and get a bird's eye view of the entire project, all component tasks that need to be completed, progress percentages and deadlines on all tasks, and resources (human or otherwise) associated with each task.
The Gantt chart is named after the American engineer Henry Gantt, who didn't even invent it. It was technically first invented by Polish engineer Karol Adamiecki, but Gantt designed one later and it was Gantt's version that became widely known. Remember, good PR can be more important than inventing things. Can you imagine calling it an Adamiecki chart? Gantt is much shorter.
Gantt Charts are low in cholesterol, sugar-free, and contain 0 calories. Admittedly, this is true of all charts, but our marketing consultant insists that these are important selling points.
The Care and Feeding of your Gantt chart
Okay, you've got this free Gantt chart template, so now what do you do with it? Well, sometimes the most important parts of putting together your Gantt chart are the decisions you make before you type in a single task. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
* Does this project actually need a Gantt chart template?
As you may notice, Gantt charts are complex. This makes them a good fit for complex, multi-phased projects with teams simultaneously working on many sub-tasks, but a bad fit for simpler projects or projects with only one worker, which could use a more basic Project Plan Template.
* How detailed should I be?
You want the main phases of your project represented in your Gantt chart template, but with an appropriate amount of detail. Listing sub-tasks for each phase is good. But breaking tasks down too far into small pieces creates unnecessary bureaucratic overhead.
* What dependencies are absolute?
Setting up dependencies in your Gantt chart template can be useful for absolute dependencies, e.g. you can't start painting until you have bought paint. But not every task requires the dependency function; you might prefer to have design finalized before starting your advertising push, but if deadlines get tight, you can advertise before design is finished.
Maximize project visibility
A Gantt chart combines an itemized task list on the left with a charted timeline and progress tracker on the right, allowing you to see at a glance where you are, where you should be, and what's behind schedule. More importantly, it lets you see when the task behind schedule is being held up by another task it depends on, and re-assign resources to compensate. That's how Gantt charts help managers manage.
Easy to update
With our software, simply entering information on the task list will automagically update the chart to reflect your changes, allowing you to update your resource allocations and schedules without messing with complex reports. And a Gantt chart will let you update your team's current progress instantly, creating a chart that anyone can read for up-to-the-minute progress reports on your entire project.
More flexible than a rubber band
If you expect all parts of your projects to proceed exactly as planned and on schedule, you may not have a lot of experience as a project manager. Gantt charts give you an overview of the whole project with current progress reports on all relevant tasks, allowing you to instantly provide accurate status reports upon request, or reschedule tasks and reassign resources while keeping the larger project on track.
Don't panic. Once you know what you're looking at, a Gantt chart is no more difficult to read than a TV Guide. The left-hand side of the chart is your main Task list, which is a full list of all your main tasks, associated sub-tasks, start and end dates, and progress status. On the right, you'll see bars over time where each bar represents a specific task and the length represents the start and end dates. The shading on a bar indicates the progress towards completion, so you can see at a glance exactly where you stand. And stand proudly.
Advanced features in Gantt charts include Milestone marker diamonds that indicate important milestones (such as the Project Start above), and Dependencies indicated by lines linking multiple tasks together, when starting one task relies upon the completion of another. But leaving that aside, a Gantt chart simply charts what tasks need doing, when they are scheduled to be done, and how far along they have progressed. Science.
Construction projects were some of the earliest uses for Gantt charts. Massive projects like the Hoover Dam and various interstate highways made use of Gantt charts to ensure that sufficient resources were allocated to each task, and that any tasks with dependencies were handled appropriately. Construction hasn't gotten any easier today, so if you're juggling multiple contractors and trying to keep track of dozens of tasks, it's Gantt to the rescue.
Trying to keep track of who is teaching what to who when is so complicated that even this sentence was hard to read. Add in the hassles of dealing with a demanding mandatory topic list, and a lot of information that relies on previously-taught information, and you've got a challenge. But you can completely school that challenge by organizing with a Gantt chart.
Large finance projects often have hard deadlines with complex nested requirements. If you want to roll out a new financial product that requires a lot of approvals at each step of the way, you don't want to sit around wondering who still needs approvals and whether you're still on schedule. A Gantt chart template will have you feeling like a million bucks.
Gantt charts can also be created using Excel templates. With this Excel Gantt chart template, you can manage everything from construction projects to product development roadmaps. Using this Excel Gantt chart, you can include your tasks, dates, and resources. Task dependencies can be easily adjusted and configured in weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly increments.
This Excel Gantt chart template contains many of the same features as the online template, such as progress percentages that are displayed by partially filled bars on the timeline. It also includes separate columns for the number of days and work days and workdays between the start and end dates for each task. Because you don't want to think, "We've got four days to work on that, no rush," and then realize that only two of those are working days. Millions of users have already downloaded this free Gantt chart Excel template; why not join them and get your project on track?