Just imagine how difficult it is to juggle numerous balls at once. You miss a ball and the entire act is gone for a toss. Project management is quite similar to juggling where you are constantly ‘juggling’ between multiple tasks, people, projects and what not. The moment you miss a deadline, the entire planning can go haywire and have serious repercussions.
This is why it’s helpful to have a visual overview of a project schedule and know when is each activity completing and who is working on it. And, this is where Gantt chart software come into the picture.
Not just project managers, in fact, people from all walks of life are now using them to plan, organize, and deliver. If you always wanted to learn what Gantt charts are and how you can be benefited from them, you’ve come to the right place. Before jumping straightaway to its benefits, let’s first understand what they really are:
Table of Contents
- What is a Gantt chart?
- Why is Gantt chart useful?
- Top 11 benefits that Gantt charts offer:
- 1. Know what’s going on in your projects
- 2. Improved communication and team cohesion
- 3. Avoid resource overload
- 4. Measure the progress of projects
- 5. See overlapping activities and task dependencies
- 6. Experience more clarity
- 7. Practice better time management
- 8. Work with remote team members and motivate them
- 9. Create a sense of accountability
- 10. Boost flexibility
- 11. Promotes transparency
- Application of Gantt charts
- List of Software/Tools with the Best Gantt Charts
- Gantt chart software – How to make the right choice?
What is a Gantt chart?
According to Wikipedia, “A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule and shows the dependency relationships between activities and current schedule status.”
In simpler words, Gantt charts are a visual view of tasks displayed against time. They represent critical information such as who is assigned to what, duration of tasks, and overlapping activities in a project.
All in all, Gantt charts are the perfect allies for planning, scheduling, and managing a project.
Why is Gantt chart useful?
If you are wondering what is Gantt chart used for and why it is useful for leaders, you need to know that these charts simplify the planning process. Since they are simple to create, use, and keep track of, they prove to be of great help for managers.
A Gantt Chart, in its simplest form, is a timeline that illustrates how the project will progress during the project management process. And the timeline view offered by Gantt Charts is proven quite useful for planning and scheduling projects. It helps project managers and project teams to assess how long a project should take, determine the resources needed, understand the dependencies between tasks, and plan the order in which each task will be completed if the whole project is to deliver on time.
As the project moves forward, a Gantt chart adjusts simultaneously, displaying an up-to-date project schedule to keep everyone (teams, clients, and stakeholders) informed of the progress. In addition to this, Gantt charts replace meetings and enhance other status updates. They make it easy for teams to understand task progress and talk about the problems they may encounter.
In all, using a Gantt chart or a Gantt chart tool is useful during project management because it allows you to picture your project against the time frame it needs to be done in.
History and evolution of Gantt charts
Gantt charts have an interesting history that needs to be shared. The origin of the tool dates back to the late 1800s when a Polish engineer Karol Adamiecki invented a diagram called harmonograph. The major reason behind inventing this diagram was to improve the way production schedules were displayed during that point of time. The only problem was that all findings and other critical information were published in Polish and Russian only.
Meanwhile, Henry Laurence Gantt, a management consultant and an engineer, was also working on the similar concept around 1910. He designed a chart to help manufacturing managers to easily visualize their work schedule. With time, it underwent some changes and evolved into Gantt charts. Therefore Henry Gantt is considered the inventor of Gantt Chart (hence the name).
Since we have revisited what Gantt charts are and how they got popularized, it’s time that we discuss how online Gantt charts make project management better.
Top 11 benefits that Gantt charts offer:
1. Know what’s going on in your projects
The biggest advantage of using free online Gantt charts in project management is that you get to see everything related to project at a single place. It acts as a great visualization and prioritization tool as it provides the total overview of the project and tells you about the critical information such as members involved in each step, the order of tasks, duration, start-to-end dates, task dependencies and progress made in them. Hence, online Gantt charts software are helpful in equipping project managers with the information they need to oversee while managing projects.
2. Improved communication and team cohesion
Communication is an integral part of a project that can make or break it. In fact, 86% of employees feel lack of communication as the biggest reason for workplace failures. On the other hand, Gantt charts are known to provide crystal clear communication. Project managers can use these charts to know who is working on what and give inputs on certain tasks and pass relevant information to them. This helps him to communicate better with team members and also improves their relationship as a team. Most importantly, it eliminates the need for having a separate tool for tracking and communication purposes.
3. Avoid resource overload
Too many problems arise when resources are stretched over too many tasks and processes. Gantt charts allow you to use your resources effectively as you get to see a project’s timeline where you can easily see how and where resources are being utilized. Within Gantt charts, you can also delegate tasks and align resources without burdening them with too much work. This way you can effectively manage resources and when resources are properly managed, projects are more likely to be completed within budget and deadlines.
4. Measure the progress of projects
Once you schedule your project in a Gantt chart software you can check the progress of the projects in it. The feature to measure a project’s progress enables you to make changes in your strategy if it is lagging behind its schedule. As project members can update the completed percent of each task, everyone stays on the same page. This information is quite useful to determine if the project is headed in the right direction or not.
5. See overlapping activities and task dependencies
At times, you cannot start a certain task unless another task which is dependent on the former is completed. Such task dependencies can make things difficult to be managed especially in case of complex projects that have too many tasks. As you get to see an overview of projects in a Gantt chart software, you can easily see which tasks are dependent on each other and schedule them in a way that they don’t impact the overall progress in any way and team members share equal responsibility.
6. Experience more clarity
It’s not a good feeling when you get stuck in a project and you don’t know where things are going. Although it’s quite common to get stuck while working on a project, however, Gantt charts let you see things with a lot more clarity with just a click. As you can instantly see the progress of tasks, it helps you and others working on a project to develop a better understanding of how things are unfolding. More clarity means better understanding which further leads to successful completion of a project.
7. Practice better time management
Many project managers pitch scheduling as one of the biggest benefits of Gantt charts in project management. As time plays an important role in the life of a project, therefore a Gantt chart software helps project members to understand the severity of time delays while managing projects. It’s easy to get carried away and work mindlessly on tasks but when you have a unified view of the overall progress, you can easily allocate time to each and every task and do what really needs to be done.
8. Work with remote team members and motivate them
According to a recent study, almost 75% of American employees would prefer to quit their jobs and change it for a remote position. Remote work is quite popular these days. It’s one of the trends that are expected to dominate the world of project management in the coming years. However, working with a remote team has its own challenges. When you manage a project with a remote team, you have way more difficulties coordinating and keeping everyone in the loop. A Gantt chart, being an effective solution for modern teams, makes it easier for everyone to stay on the same page while working together. Gantt chart is certainly one of the best ways to work with remote teams and keep them motivated. It allows you to visualize what’s already done, what’s in progress, and what lies ahead, keeping everyone shoulder to shoulder during the project development regardless of the country or time zone they’re in
9. Create a sense of accountability
Using Gantt charts during project management allows both project managers and teams to track team progress, highlighting big wins (like a task completed on time and a milestone achieved ahead of the schedule), as well as major failures. This functionality of the Gantt chart helps to create a sense of accountability in the workplace. It gives both managers and team members a fair opportunity to leverage this solution to highlight how frequently they exceed expectations and get recognition in the workplace.
10. Boost flexibility
Change is a crucial part of the project management process. Even if your project plan appears to be foolproof, you and your team need to be prepared for the possibility that you might have to adjust your expectations as per the changing situations. Having a user-friendly Gantt chart tool can help you relieve yourself from potential headaches in such conditions. You can use a Gantt chart to help your team keep moving towards reaching the desired goal and milestones, while still being flexible in how to get there.
11. Promotes transparency
Transparency in the workplace promotes trust and teamwork amongst your team. Being aware of each other’s responsibilities in a project is an important part of that process. A Gantt chart certainly helpful in this case. It shows the details of each team member’s tasks and milestones in one place so that everyone is aware of each other’s workload and help those who may be struggling to fulfill their own work. This kind of transparency in the work process further boosts teamwork, honesty, and humility within the team.
Application of Gantt charts
The sheer simplicity and ease-of-access of all relevant information make Gantt charts an ideal choice for teams to use them for organizing their schedules. Due to this, Gantt charts are widely used in project management, IT and development teams. Apart from them, marketing, engineering, product launch, manufacturing teams can also use Gantt charts to get an overview of how things are rolling on the work front.
List of Software/Tools with the Best Gantt Charts
Before you start a quest for the best Gantt chart software for your team, take a look at these top-rated Gantt chart software:
ProofHub is a feature-rich project management software, with powerful Gantt charts that are easy to use. You can visualize all the tasks of a project in a timeline view that will give you a better idea of how projects are performing and if the project will be completed in the predetermined time.
By using ProofHub’s Gantt charts, you can set dependencies between tasks and highlight critical paths that will help you to ensure the timely delivery of a project. Additionally, the drag and drop interface makes it extremely easy to modify task schedules as work changes and deadlines shift.
Here are some more highlights of Gantt charts offered by ProofHub:
- Create new tasks and assign them to your team members
- Prioritize tasks and mark task progress in percentage
- Track progress of each task as well as the progress of the overall project
- Create and associate milestones with tasks
- Manage which members of your team can access a Gantt chart
- Export Gantt charts to view them outside the software and also print to use them in meetings
Along with Gantt charts, there are many features in ProofHub that make it a comprehensive project management solution for teams of any size, any industry, and any department.
You can manage your tasks easily in the form of cards and even see how a task moves through different stages of the project workflow using Kanban boards. You have an online proofing tool to review and give feedback on files in real-time, and cloud storage to keep all your work files stored and organized at a single place.
Additionally, you can use timers to record time data, create custom project reports instantly, and even communicate with your colleagues using the in-built chat interface. To cut a long story short, ProofHub has almost every important tool integrated into it that you need to plan, collaborate, organize, and deliver projects.
Pricing: The Ultimate Control plan starts at $89 per month (unlimited users).
Track the progress of your project accurately with the bird’s-eye view of all the Gantt data. Sign up for ProofHub!
Celoxis allows you to create dynamic project plans and manage your projects using its built-in Gantt charts. You will get a graphical overview of the project schedule and keep track of the project progress.
It’s simple to get started with your project using Celoxis’s Gantt chart and you can easily create tasks, set start & finish dates, and define milestones. Visualize task dependencies and build dynamic project plans to ensure that the efforts of your team yield good results.
Pricing: The Cloud plan starts at $22.5 per user per month.
GanttPRO is another popular name among the Gantt chart software that are well-suited for project management. It allows you to plan your projects and manage all the tasks on a Gantt chart. Moreover, the process of task delegation becomes easy and you can always stay updated about who is working on what task.
You can rely on this Gantt tool to prioritize tasks, set dependencies, and specify the duration of each task. Apart from managing tasks and visualizing timelines of projects, Celoxis also allows you to manage and make optimal use of your resources.
Pricing: The Team plan starts at $8.90 per user per month (minimum 5 users).
Simple, intuitive, and powerful are the exact terms that define the Gantt charts offered by Instagantt. The drag and drop functionality of this tool makes it super easy to plot your project on a Gantt Chart and you need no prior training or technical knowledge.
There are a lot of features incorporated by Instagantt to its Gantt charts such as display task progress in percentage, highlight special events and milestones, and add custom colors for the bars. The tool also lets you export Gantt charts as images and excel spreadsheets.
Pricing: The Team Subscription plan is available for $5 per user per month.
Tom’s Planner is a project management Gantt chart maker that you can use to create professional and visually appealing Gantt charts in a short time. It provides you the flexibility to invite your team members to see how their tasks fit in the bigger picture of the project.
Meeting deadlines is crucial for the successful completion of a project, and Tom’s Planner helps you keep track of the due dates of all your tasks. You can also choose to see the schedules of your projects as an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly view.
Pricing: The Unlimited plan is available for $19.95 per month.
Gantt chart software – How to make the right choice?
With so many tools claiming to be the ‘right Gantt chart software’, it can be hard to make the final choice. Before you select a tool in haste, make sure it allows you to do the following things:
- Share project information with others
- Collaborate in real-time
- Easy drag-and-drop for efficient scheduling
- Import, export, and integrable with third-party applications
Also, ask yourself some important questions before you actually start using a Gantt chart software for your projects. Here are a few questions that might help you get started on the right foot.
- Why exactly do you need a Gantt chart? (to plan resources or to manage projects)
- Do you deal with several projects at once?
- How many of your tasks are recurrent?
- Do you need to collaborate with others?
Finding answers to these questions will help you get a better idea of what problems you want your gantt chart tool to solve, thereby making it easier for you to spot the right tool among all the available options.
Manage your projects, tasks, and teams from a common interface. Use ProofHub’s Gantt Charts today!
Since you’ve read quite a lot about Gantt charts, you must have realized its importance by now. If you still have some apprehensions, then ProofHub seems like a great starting point. ProofHub Gantt chart software helps you create project schedules, track progress made in tasks, set task dependencies, and manage resources effectively. Apart from these stellar features, it combines other project management functionalities as well.
Now that you know the benefits of Gantt charts, what’s stopping you from using them?