Gantt charts have been used for over a century to give a clear visualization of a project’s status and progress, it is one of the most widely used project management tools and one of the first things any budding project manager will learn to create. One of the other many benefits of Gantt chart usage is how it can be utilized to spot problems and identify risks before they occur.
A Gantt chart uses a simple block system to identify how long a particular task within a project is going to take, how much has been completed so far and when it is due to be finished by. It can also denote such information as the responsible team members in charge of its oversight or which contractor or customer is also involved with it, among other additional information. The main benefits of Gantt chart usage are that it provides a relatively clear insight across the full spectrum of a project’s tasks, while also being simple enough to get all the information you need from a quick look.
How Gantt Charts Help to Spot Problems
Keeping track of delays
Due to Gantt charts focus on the “time” constraint of the Project Management Triangle it is very easy for project managers and other stakeholders to identify where time is being spent, what the team is up to right now and, importantly, what tasks are falling behind. The Gantt chart will give a basic overview of any specific task strand and how it is performing in terms of time spent and whether or not it is on track to meet its deadlines.
Measuring risk factors
Another of the benefits of Gantt chart usage, especially when using an online, interactive model, like that provided by Clarizen is that risks and risk assessments can be directly linked to relevant tasks. These provide quick access to related contingencies and also mean that the Gantt chart can function as a risk measurement tool.
Recognizing resourcing gaps
A Gantt chart is very effective at creating a visual presentation of exactly where all of your project’s resources are concentrated and how these will change in the future. Using a Gantt chart effectively, a PM will be able to spot bottle-necks, i.e. areas where resources are spread too thinly to be effective, causing overall project delays. This allows them to reassign and put back or forward tasks so as to ensure a smoother project path.
Planning for consequences of interrelatedness
A clearer view of how deliverables flow into each other, e.g. needing to create a mailing list before you can start an email marketing campaign, means that the interrelatedness of all the various tasks in a project is more easily recognized. This is vital when following the “critical path method” of scheduling tasks to ensure the project takes as little time as possible. Without effective use of a Gantt chart, delays can easily occur, such as when a task is due to begin, but other deliverables necessary for it have not been completed yet.
Gantt charts are one of the most important tools available to project managers. As one of the world’s leading creators of project management software, it’s only natural that Clarizen provides an integrated and interactive, real-time Gantt chart that can effectively track and manage your project’s progress. See how it works by talking to us today.