What is a GANTT chart?

Gantt charts are used to track progress on a project and make sure everything remains on schedule. It is a form of a bar chart that was invented by Henry Gantt around 1910-1915. The original form of these charts was quite simple and only used to monitor progress of various steps in a project. Over the years they have evolved and now include things like dependency relationships between various activities, current schedule status, and more.

Using Gantt Charts

The Gantt charts were originally written out by people using them and manually tracked. Today, however, almost all examples of these charts will be on computers. In most cases they are made using spreadsheet tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. In either case, the programs will allow users to enter relevant information and then generate the chart. This will also allow the chart to be automatically updated as various steps in the process are completed.

Common Fields in a Gantt Chart

When using this type of chart there will be a variety of different fields that are present. These fields may or may not be visible depending on how the user wants to set them up. The actual visual chart portion will be generated based on these fields. Commonly used fields include the following:

  • Task Names – This is the name of each task within a project.
  • Predecessors – This is a list of which tasks need to be completed before another task can begin.
  • Estimated Duration of Task – This will show how long a specific task is expected to take to complete.
  • Completed Dates – In most cases this will be the date on which a task was actually completed. It can also be used to identify the estimated date when the task is expected to be done.

There can be many other fields that are used to generate the chart as well. When used properly, a Gantt chart will help to keep projects on task and ensure everything is properly organized. It will also make it easy to see what work needs to be done at what time so that everything will flow smoothly.


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