Do you find yourself wishing you could see your project as it progresses over time? Is it difficult to predict how much time and effort it will take to complete your project tasks? If your traditional vertical to-do list doesn’t give you the insight you need to manage your project, a gantt chart may be what you need.
We believe you can effectively manage projects with the right tools in place, and a gantt chart is one of them.
What is the purpose of gantt charts in project management? What are the advantages of a gantt chart? These are fair questions, especially since the rise of so-called collaboration software has caused project managers to ignore gantt charts.
There are numerous advantages of using a gantt chart in project management—from allocating resources more effectively to ensuring project tasks are completed on time. However, many people don't know just how useful and beneficial gantt charts can be.
Why use a gantt chart in project management
The purpose of a gantt chart is to equip you with the tools you need to oversee every aspect of your project while actively tracking your progress.
To give you a clearer idea of what gantt charts can do for your next project, we outlined 10 benefits to using gantt charts in project management.
1. Always know what’s going on in your projects
Project managers have a basic need: complete knowledge of a project’s timeline. Using a gantt chart is the best response to this need. Creating a gantt chart provides a total overview of the project from start to finish, the members involved in each step, and all the tasks required to complete the project.
Once your project’s gantt chart is complete, you now have a grip on the project. You can see it and visualize the steps to completion.
2. Easily communicate the project plan with your team
Communication is critical in project management, and that’s one of the biggest advantages of gantt charts—crystal clear project communication.
If everyone can see the project’s gantt chart, then everyone can be on the same page by setting clear task dates and important project milestones.
3. Prevent resource overload
Within a gantt chart, you can delegate tasks to different people and align team resources without overloading people in the process. When resources are properly managed, a project is more likely to be completed on time.
4. Track the progress of your project
Once you schedule your project in a gantt chart, you have the ability to check in and see how the project is progressing. By using a gantt chart, everyone on your project can update the percent complete of each of their tasks. This provides a quick view of how far behind or (in a rare case) ahead of schedule your project is.
5. Free up brain space
Once you have a plan in a gantt chart, you can start working towards getting tasks done. There’s no need to stress about remembering the next steps, who's doing what, or what may have been forgotten. Everything is in the gantt chart. You can now focus your precious time, effort, and brainpower on actual work.
6. Give your team more clarity and motivation
Members of a project can see when they need to get their tasks done. They can also see if future tasks depend on them. When others see exactly what their role is in a project and how others depend on them, it provides real motivation!
7. Provide accountability and coaching
Good project managers use more carrots than sticks. And nobody likes a micromanager. But in the world of project management, it pays to know what your team is up to.
Gantt charts help you do that. A few simple clicks will show you how tasked up a team member is, who has a lot of time on their hands, and who might need a few more carrots.
Visualizing this information in a beautiful heatmap helps project managers keep their team accountable and provide some mentoring along the way.
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8. Identify ways to reduce costs
A gantt chart is much more than a glorified calendar. The reasons why PMs love gantt charts is because they provide a whole suite of features that make them better managers.
One of the best features? The ability to reduce costs.
Wouldn’t your client love it if you were able to tell them, “We delivered your project under budget.” Seriously, how many times does that happen?
When you as the project manager have total oversight of the resources, timelines, dependencies, and start-to-finish visualization, magic happens. Okay, it’s not exactly magic (it’s science). But the simple fact is this: A gantt chart shows you management opportunities to lower the overall cost of your project.
9. Complete projects ahead of schedule
Have you ever looked at a map and found a shortcut to where you were going? You locate Point A and Point B, then you spot a way to get to your destination faster!
A gantt chart is like a map. This map makes it easy to see those project shortcuts. Simple changes produce big results—like slashing a week or month off a project.
Besides making you look good (way to go, PM!), it makes pretty much everyone happy.
10. Become ridiculously productive
Some people think that productivity is the result of insane drive and genius time-management hacks. And they’re right.
But that’s not all. In a team context, productivity is the result of having the right systems, software, and processes in place. Gantt charts are the ideal tool for teams to amp up their productivity—allowing them to work together seamlessly, efficiently, and successfully.
How to create your gantt chart
With these 10 benefits in mind, the next step is to begin researching your project management gantt chart options. Signing up for a free trial is a great first step to begin learning about how to create a gantt chart.
Below we've provided tutorial videos and guides to walk you through the process of creating a gantt chart for project management.
8 best practices when building your gantt chart
A lot of effort goes into creating a gantt chart. But not all gantt charts are created equal.
Before you start creating a gantt chart, make sure you keep these essentials in mind. Staying aware of these points could mean the difference between getting bogged down in the details and driving a project to completion in record time.
How to use a gantt chart in project management
A gantt chart is powerful because it solves some of the biggest issues facing every project manager:
- What tasks need to be done?
- Who is responsible for what?
- How long is this going to take?
- How can we track our progress?
A gantt chart delivers powerful answers to each of these questions. Watch this video, and you’ll discover exactly how your next project will stay 100% under control with a gantt chart.
How to create a gantt chart in Microsoft Excel 2016
Excel nerds, rejoice. You can create your own gantt chart with a little Excel mojo and a 7-minute video. First, download our free Excel gantt chart template, then follow along and you'll have a customized gantt chart up and running in no time.
Create your own free gantt chart today
Ready to put your gantt chart skills to work for your next project? TeamGantt is the easiest gantt chart software around. Just ask the thousands of companies who put it to work everyday!
You’ll have all the features you need to ensure projects finish on time and under budget—from drag and drop simplicity and team collaboration to customizable views and workload management.
Best of all, it’s wrapped up in a simple and intuitive interface your whole team will love. 😍