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The Advantages of Gantt Charts in Project Management

Nathan Gilmore
August 15, 2016
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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.

What is the purpose of 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. You can use a gantt chart to schedule, assign, and track project tasks from kickoff to completion. Its horizontal structure makes it easy to see how work stacks up over time so you can actively monitor progress along the way. Learn more about what a gantt chart is and how it’s used in project management.

So why is a gantt chart important in project management? Because it puts the plan at the center of your project. And when your plan’s at the center, everyone knows what to expect and what it will take to deliver the project on time and budget. 

Benefits of using a gantt chart in project management

To give you a clearer idea of why gantt charts are useful, we outlined 10 benefits of 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.

Keep the big picture in easy view

Lay a clear path to success with a visual plan that’s easy to understand, and keep everyone in sync with flexible workflows and team collaboration.

Create your free plan

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.

gantt chart discussion tab

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.

Watch the video below to see how one company uses gantt charts to manage workloads and distribute work evenly across team members.

VIDEO - How to Distribute Work Evenly in TeamGantt

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. Gantt charts are useful because 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.

Update task progress with percent complete

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.

Track daily gantt chart tasks

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!

gantt chart dependencies

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.

example of resource planning in gantt charts

8. Identify ways to reduce costs

A gantt chart is much more than a glorified calendar. One advantage of gantt charts is that they provide a whole suite of features that make you a better project manager.

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?

Personnel costs are often overlooked in project management. Yet, people are the most expensive and utilized factor in any project. The more you pay the people involved in a project, the more the project’s going to cost. Luckily, gantt charts can be a powerful budgeting tool.

For example, let’s say you’re managing a software project that involves high-level oversight from a VP of Development. The VP’s decision-making role involves a considerable expenditure of his time resources. In a conventional management model, it would be impossible to visualize the economic impact of the VP’s involvement. With a gantt chart, however, you can quickly spot the expensive pitfalls of the project and plan accordingly.

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.

Timesheet report

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.

Gantt charts don’t just show you what needs to get done. They also make it easy to prevent bottlenecks and spot opportunities for efficiency. 

As a project manager, it’s your job to take stock of your resources and apply them where they’re needed most. Dependencies give you a clear view of task priorities. When you can clearly see who’s available and what needs to happen when, you can schedule work without creating logjams.

And because gantt charts make the timeline visual, it’s easy to see where you can batch similar tasks together to save time and find the quickest path to finish.

gantt chart timeline

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. 💪

Disadvantages of gantt charts

Every tool has strengths and weaknesses, and gantt charts are no different. A common criticism of gantt charts is that they’re too complex to build, read, and update. In fact, some folks see gantt charts as a waste of time when you can simply make a list. 

But modern gantt chart software makes it a whole lot easier to build and share detailed project plans without getting lost in the details. You’ll find clean design that’s easy on the eyes, plus drag and drop scheduling that makes building and adjusting timelines fast and painless. And since everything happens online, your whole team can update progress and collaborate on projects in real 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. 😍

Try TeamGantt for free today!