Introduction to Gantt Charts

A Gantt Chart provides a timeline for a project giving an overview of how a project is progressing. Project activities, tasks and events are easy to see relative to one another, and the gantt chart allows multiple users to see how the project is progressing over time and what steps or tasks are next.

A Gantt Chart is used for planning, scheduling and monitoring projects, and managing the dependencies between project tasks. Below is a simple Gantt Chart layout showing tasks, dates and duration. As the chart becomes filled with more project tasks the timescale will increase and the way in which each activity relates to the overall project progression will be seen.

Simple Gantt Chart

The Gantt Chart will have a list of tasks on the left, in the order they will be started. There will start and end dates for each task, with the duration marked on the calendar bar so that it shows the relationship to all other tasks. Some tasks will overlap with others, and some will only be able to start when the previous task has been completed. With Gantt Chart software the start and end dates can be changed as the project progresses, to reflect delays or work completed early. Related tasks can then be adjusted in relation to the new schedule. Different colours can be used to denote interrelated tasks, primary and secondary tasks, and critical activities.

The first concept of the Gantt Chart was devised by a Polish engineer called Karol Adamiecki at a steelworks around 1896. Henry Gantt, an American mechanical engineer and management consultant, took these ideas and developed his own scheduling tools that have taken his name around 1910-15. Gantt charts are now "one of the most widely used management tools for project scheduling and control". 

Gantt Chart