The special type of horizontal bar chart that provides a graphical overview and schedule of all activities, elements and dependencies of a project or program. Explanation of the Gantt Chart of Henry Laurence Gantt. (1917)
Contributed by: Peter Darwin
What is a Gantt Chart? Description
The Gantt Chart from Henry Laurence Gantt provides a graphical overview and schedule of all activities, elements and dependencies of a project or program. It is a special type of horizontal bar chart that is very common in project management to represent the phases and activities of a project Work Breakdown Structure.
A Gantt chart is constructed with a horizontal axis representing the total time span of the project, broken down into increments (for example, days, weeks, or months) and a vertical axis representing the tasks that make up the project. Horizontal bars of varying lengths represent the sequences, timing, and time span for each task.
They may be simple versions created on graph paper or more complex automated versions created using project management applications such as Microsoft Project or Excel.
Optional Gantt Chart Enhancements
The progression of each activity can be shown by shading the bar as progress
is made. Some Gantt charts also illustrate the dependency relationships between
activities by using link lines or color codes. Milestones can be shown. Current
schedule status can be shown by a vertical marker, the TODAY-line.
Origin of the Gantt Chart. History
Henry Laurence Gantt, A.B., M.E. (1861-23 November 1919) was a mechanical engineer and management consultant who is most famous for developing the Gantt chart in 1917, besides a number of others charts. The first Gantt charts were employed on major infrastructure projects including the Hoover Dam. Modern spreadsheet and project software enable the creation and editing of very comprehensive Gantt charts.
Usage of a Gantt Chart. Applications
In Project and Program Management, the Gantt Chart technique can be used to:
Steps in creating a Gantt Chart. Process
Strengths of the Gantt Chart. Benefits
Gantt Chart versus PERT
Unlike the Gantt Chart, the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) has no calendar, so you can not see precisely when the activities should be performed. On the other hand, the dependencies between the activities in PERT are easier to follow. This is why for larger projects, usually PERT is preferable. Actually PERT uses multiple time estimates for each activity to allow for variation in activity times. The activity times are assumed to be random, with assumed probability distribution ("probabilistic"). They are represented by arrowed lines between nodes or circles.
Limitations of the Gantt Chart. Disadvantages
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