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Gantt Chart: The Ultimate Guide (with Examples)

by Hannah Ray

Gantt charts are bar charts that provide a visual representation of the project tasks over time. Gantt charts are useful for project planning. They can show what work is due on particular days. This allows project managers and team members to view the start, end and milestones of project schedules in one simple stacked chart.

Gantt Chart Definition

Gantt charts are stacked bar charts that show project tasks along a vertical axis, and timelines that show task duration along a horizontal. The Gantt chart shows the summary elements, task dependency relationships, and milestones in a project schedule. Henry Gantt, who popularized the Gantt chart for project management in the early 20th-century, is the name of this chart.

This sample Gantt chart will help you better understand the definition. This Gantt chart was created using a Gantt chart creator.

Gantt Chart Example

ProjectManager screenshot showing a Gantt chart

This Gantt chart illustration shows you how to easily see:

  • The project start date
  • What are the tasks of the project?
  • Which member of the team is responsible for each task?
  • When activities begin and end
  • Each activity’s percent completion
  • How tasks are linked, overlapped and group together
  • Task dependencies like finish-to–start, finish–to-finish, start-to–start, finish–to-finish, and start–to-finish.
  • The schedule will include milestones and phases for each project.
  • The project’s critical path
  • The project’s completion date

How to Create a Gantt Chart

You can make a Gantt chart example by using the vertical axis for tasks to be completed and the horizontal to show a timeline. The stacked bar chart will show the task durations. If you use a project management software that has a Gantt chart creator, this happens automatically.

Gantt charts are usually created in Excel, or with project management software (sometimes referred to simply as Gantt chart software). Gantt charts can be created with Gantt software instead of an Excel Gantt template. This will allow you to see more than task durations and due dates.

Gantt chart software allows you to create a work breakdown, assign tasks to your team members, track project progress, and drag and drop timelines in order to update your project schedule. Wait, what about Microsoft Excel! Instead of using Gantt chart software, can I create a Gantt diagram in Microsoft Excel?

Create a Gantt Chart using Templates

Microsoft Excel does not have the capabilities to create a Gantt chart. There are however, workarounds available in the form templates. ProjectManager, an online portal for all things work-based, offers many free templates to help you create a Gantt Chart and make an action plan. Then assign tasks to your team. Project management software is capable of doing all this quicker and more effectively, but there are steps you can take to get started.

Gantt Chart Template

The Gantt chart Excel template is free and can be used to create a Gantt diagram and project timeline in just minutes. This will give you a visual overview for your entire project, from start to end. Simply add the tasks necessary to reach the final deliverable, and then manually update any changes made during execution. This is a great example for a Gantt chart in Microsoft Excel.

Work Breakdown Template

How can you determine the tasks that you will need to plan on your Gantt charts over the course of your project’s duration? This is where the free WBS template comes into play. The tree diagram is topped by your final deliverable. From there, smaller deliverables are created to create a hierarchical and incremental map for your project.

Gantt Templates are Great, but They are Limited

Gantt charts templates are wonderful, but they will be static documents if they are stored in Microsoft Excel. This means that you will have to manually modify them during execution. They are not dynamic. They can’t be used to manage costs, assign tasks, balance resources, or any other purpose. It is essentially a timeline at the beginning of the project. Gantt charts software is required to take your Gantt charts skills to the next level.

ProjectManager, a Gantt chart software, allows you to create dynamic, online Gantt charts together with your team. You can create timelines, set dependencies, assign milestones, track costs, and much more. Your team can execute your plan from multiple perspectives. As they progress, the Gantt charts automatically updates. Get ProjectManager free of charge today.

ProjectManager’s Gatt chart showing task details

Are you not ready to sign up for a free trial? Continue reading to find out more about Gantt charts software.

What is Gantt Chart Software?

Project managers discovered that computers allowed them to save time creating and updating Gantt charts. Gantt chart software is also known as project planning, project management or project scheduling software. It was designed to automate complex Gantt tasks like adding milestones, creating task dependencies and identifying the critical path for a project plan. For a quick overview of Gantt chart software, and its benefits, watch the video below.

Project management training video (fgc8zj1dix)

Many project managers used Microsoft Project, a local desktop program. Today, however, project management software is available online. Anyone can create collaborative Gantt charts or projects plans.

Desktop vs. Online Gantt Chart Makers

The way that teams work has been dramatically improved by project management software. The Desktop Gantt chart creator is ideal for one manager who prefers to plan projects individually and not have to share them with other team members or stakeholders. Desktop Gantt chart maker is similar to Microsoft Excel and Word. Each user has one license.

Without the integration of Microsoft Sharepoint, it is difficult to share large Gantt and plan files. Sharepoint does not allow you to share files with other people. This can increase your costs.

Gantt chart or online project management software allows for easy sharing and collaboration in project planning. The software can be accessed 100% online so anyone you invite can see your project plan and update their tasks. They can also attach files to the tasks they are working on in real-time. Online project management tools cost significantly less than desktop versions due to the lack of costly integrations, server installations, and license fees for each user.

Most project managers agree that moving online to manage their project planning and Gantt charts is the best decision. The productivity gains are far greater than the inconveniences associated with older desktop methods of working.

Benefits of Online Gantt Chart Software

Many people are familiar with creating task lists in Excel and other spreadsheet programs. You might have seen them create a Gantt charts, such as the one we offer in our free Gantt chart template. This is great for creating tasks lists that one person can view.

Shareable Timeslines

It is much easier to create a Gantt chart online if you wish to share your project timeline. Everybody can update their tasks whenever they make a change to their % complete, add a comment or attach a file. You can also drag and drop tasks into the project manager to make changes to your project schedule.

What is a Gantt chart used for in project management?

Gantt charts can be used in many ways. This is evident by the number of roles and teams that can benefit from them. These are just a few.

  • Plan & Schedule Projects
  • Plan & Schedule Tasks
  • Plan & Schedule Tasks across multiple projects
  • You can view Tasks over Time
  • Plan in Sprints
  • Team Collaboration
  • Resource Management
  • Scheduling teams’ work
  • How to determine the time it takes to complete a project.

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