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Gantt charts for beginners

 MS MS

Published: 20th August 2020

Do you use Gantt charts for project management? If not and you’d like to, we offer some great basic tips about Gantt charts for beginners here.

Gantt charts are a popular tool with project managers, and it is easy to see why. They are a simple tool that can be used to help visualise time and any resources you have during a project. Simply take the length of time needed for any task, add any dependencies and that’s it. A simple clear progression path is created that you can follow.

How do I read a Gantt chart?

At first glance a Gantt chart may appear to be a jumble of lines, arrows, and boxes however it can be broken down into 3 sections:

  • Project tasks – in a Gantt chart each rectangle is representative of an individual task in the project. Some chart tools in Gantt will let you give not only a task name but also a status, assignees, and other details
  • Task duration – each task rectangles length is given a duration, or you can give a time between the start and end time of tasks
  • Dependencies – the arrows placed between tasks indicate the dependencies or the order that the work should be done in

Once you have worked out the three elements you can not only read the charts but create your own.

How to use Gantt charts in your projects

There are several different ways that Gantt charts can be very useful.

Brainstorm workflow

This one is perhaps the biggest advantage. Use them as a tool to plan your project because of their visual and simple nature. You can create different project scenarios easily, altering workflows and resources where necessary. Depending on which software you use you should be able to make adjustments until you find a layout that works for you, add note deliverables, add assignees and even lay out milestones for your project.

Determine a critical path

The critical path method is ideal if you are looking to find the most efficient way of completing your project. CPM, as Parallel Project Training will tell you is a staple technique in project management. It is used to find the quickest way to finish a project by working out the longest stretch of dependent tasks.

Break your project down into small chunks

As you will discover from any project management training course the key to success with project management is breaking the project down into small tasks and assigning each one a deadline. Gantt charts are a great tool that will help you to do this quickly and easily, allowing you to delegate tasks to members of the team and share out the responsibilities. Completing smaller tasks can really boost your team and provide the motivation to carry on to the ultimate goal, the completion of the project.

Set deadlines

Using a Gantt chart, you can schedule and reschedule the tasks in your project, this will allow you to see just how much even the smallest of alterations might affect the timing of your project. This is one of the best tips about using Gantt charts for beginners. This will allow you to be far more accurate and precise in the planning of your overall deadlines.

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