Project management as a sphere is pacing rapidly. According to the Project Management Institute, by 2027 almost 90 million individuals will be in demand for new project management-oriented roles. It means that the global economy will become more project-oriented and even some traditionally not projects-oriented industries like healthcare or professional services will focus on project management roles too.
To manage projects effectively, managers have to possess a combination of certain skills, personal as well as professional. Also, managers need to have a good command of special tools. A Gantt chart is one of them. Visualization makes it an effective solution for all those who deal with projects. As a chart has a descending Work Breakdown Structure, it is easy to follow the progress of a project and be aware of upcoming events.
What advantages does a Gantt chart have?
Gantt charts successfully found their niche in project management software. Lots of project planning tools rely on this bar chart. Among them are giants like MS Project and Smartsheet, their modern and affordable competitors like GanttPRO and many others used on a daily basis in professional spheres and for personal needs. You can even build a Gantt chart in the popular and commonly known Excel, though it requires time and efforts.
Now let’s speak about the truths about Gantt charts that every project manager should know. They can bring the described advantages to almost any project and improve execution.
- Process organization
In most cases, projects lack efficient organization as they consist of dozens of tasks and involve multiple team members. With a Gantt chart, there are more possibilities to organize an efficient work process.
To start with, it helps to define all the tasks from the very beginning and think over every assignment before a project even begins. To get a successful project, it is better to create groups of tasks and subtasks that form them. As a result, project managers get a clearly defined structure on a visually appealing Gantt chart timeline.
- Time management and planning
As projects very often consist of dependent tasks, it gets difficult to realize how much time each assignment will take. There is no clarity on the start and end dates. Notably, this is the case of complicated projects with multiple team members.
Thanks to two axes visualization, each task in a Gantt chart has clear time and deadlines indicators. Most online Gantt chart makers allow setting start and end dates right away. In addition, they are accompanied by calendars what makes project management more productive.
In case you cannot create a chart, you can manually build a checklist following these simple steps.
- Focus on current tasks and progress
It is crucial not to lose the project pace. Having no clues about the progress of the project and personal tasks, a team member can lose not only the status but interest as well.
With planned actions, steps, and events right in front of them on the screen, participants can keep track of tasks and current progress as well as realize how much work is expecting ahead.
- Identification of critical points and risk management
Gantt charts help to identify possible obstacles and critical points beforehand. Thanks to a clear visualization, managers will be aware of any delayed dates or frozen progress.
Elimination of problematic issues at the early stages will prevent projects from situations that may endanger its healthy state.
- Communication and collaboration
Projects do not exist in the vacuum. They include managers and team members. The more efficient communication and cooperation they will have, the more successful their project will be. Gantt charts allow improving those processes without the necessity to switch between different tools and sending reminders.
Moreover, these bar charts can replace constant meetings. Team members can get updates in a common workspace with tasks, dates, deadlines, dependencies, and milestones.
- Resource management
Resources are inherent subjects in project management. A resource is not necessarily a real team member. In 2019, you will hardly find a Gantt chart maker that does not offer the resource allocation feature. It allows managers to see who is underperforming or has too many tasks and if needed, reallocate resources.
With the proper tasks assignment and resource allocation, managers increase the chances to build rocking projects.
- Flexibility with multipurpose use
As twins’ behavioral patterns differ even if they grow up in an identical environment, there are no identical projects even if the same people plan it. There will always be unexpected situations, risks, and other unforeseen moments.
It underlines an important peculiarity of a Gantt chart – its flexibility. They are a good choice for a variety of professional spheres. Managers can use them for construction, software development, web design, retail, manufacture, education, professional services, product launch, and other spheres where it is possible to break down projects into smaller pieces. Gantt chart tools even offer ready-made templates to save time on planning.
Milestones are significant events in a project that have no duration. They show and indicate that a plan has reached a certain critical event and is developing as it was planned from the very beginning.
Milestones can be:
- Start and end dates of tasks.
- Critical points.
- Other moments that are worth paying attention to.
Gantt charts are probably the most visualized ways to depict milestones and be aware of the right project development.
Managers can benefit a lot from using Gantt charts. Moreover, every single project manager can easily find other useful features and benefit from using them.