A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements comprise the work breakdown structure of the project. Modern Gantt charts also show the dependency (i.e., precedence network) relationships between activities. Gantt charts can be used to show current schedule status using percent-complete shadings and a vertical "TODAY" line as shown here.
Although now regarded as a common charting technique, Gantt charts were considered revolutionary when first introduced. This chart is also used in information technology to represent data that has been collected.
The first known tool of this type was developed in 1896 by Karol Adamiecki, who called it a harmonogram. Adamiecki did not publish his chart until 1931, however, and only in Polish, which limited both its adoption and recognition of his authorship. The chart is named after Henry Gantt (1861–1919), who designed his chart around the years 1910–1915.
In the 1980s, personal computers allowed widespread creation of complex and elaborate Gantt charts. The first desktop applications were intended mainly for project managers and project schedulers. With the advent of the Internet and increased collaboration over networks at the end of the 1990s, Gantt charts became a common feature of web-based applications, including collaborative groupware.
In the following table there are seven tasks, labeled a through g. Some tasks can be done concurrently (a and b) while others cannot be done until their predecessor task is complete (c and d cannot begin until a is complete). Additionally, each task has three time estimates: the optimistic time estimate (O), the most likely or normal time estimate (M), and the pessimistic time estimate (P). The expected time (TE) is estimated using the beta probability distribution for the time estimates, using the formula (O + 4M + P) ÷ 6.
|Activity||Predecessor||Time estimates||Expected time (TE)|
|Opt. (O)||Normal (M)||Pess. (P)|
Once this step is complete, one can draw a Gantt chart or a network diagram.
Gantt chart baseline
Baseline in Gantt chart is used for clear comparison picture of what and how was planned and the current state of a project. Thus a manager or anyone who manages a project is able to see whether a schedule deviates from the initial plan. A project will be successfully accomplished when everything goes according to a baseline.
A baseline gives a manager possibility to understand and track project progress and forecast project results. Generally, baselines are a combination of project scope, cost and schedule (time) that are called triple constraints of a project.
Thanks to baselines a project manager knows what exactly goes wrong and how much it takes. They help to realize problematic points and minimize them.
Gantt chart timeline
A timeline is an order of events or actions placed along a bar where time periods are labeled. It is a good way to visualize all tasks and events that have start and end dates.
A Gantt chart is one of the easiest and most popular ways to visualize events along a timeline. It clearly shows which tasks are already finished, which ones are in progress or lay ahead. Timelines also show tasks dependencies and any delays in a project.
To make a timeline in a Gantt chart, one needs to know all tasks, dependencies, durations, and deadlines.
Gantt charts can be used for scheduling generic resources as well as project management. They can also be used for scheduling production processes and employee rostering. In the latter context, they may also be known as timebar schedules. Gantt charts can be used to track shifts or tasks and also vacations or other types of out-of-office time. Specialized employee scheduling software may output schedules as a Gantt chart, or they may be created through popular desktop publishing software.
- Critical path method
- Float (project management)
- Henry Gantt
- List of project management software, which includes specific Gantt Chart software.
- Program evaluation and review technique (PERT)
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