A Gantt Chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule, it’s a tool that displays tasks compared to time, invented by Henry Gantt.
Gantt Chart is one of most useful project management diagrams which assist in planning and scheduling of the projects of all sizes, and it is quite useful for simplifying the visual presentation of complex projects. It is handy to manage the workflow and tasks on track when there is a large team, multiple stakeholders and complexities in scheduling and deadlines involved.
Before we deep dive into the debate of when you should use a Gantt Chart and When you Should not, we should have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of Gantt Chart.
Advantages of Gantt Chart:
- Gantt Chart represent the Project schedules and Activities in more simplified way.
- Gantt chart helps project managers to estimate how long tasks will take and manage any stakeholder expectations accordingly.
- Shows Clear visibility of Dates and Time Frames, deadlines, and milestones.
- Clearly show the project status, in-progress, and complete % of task at any time in more understandable way
- Easy to represent Tasks, Sub-tasks, Group tasks, any overlapping, task dependencies, Milestones and Projects Visually on a Graph
- It helps in project planning and Plans by Day, Week, Month, Quarter and Year
- Helps to effectively manage the Team; Task and Team planning, coordination, responsibilities, and timeframe allocated to each member so overall improve efficiency of the project.
- Helps in efficient Time Management and project reporting.
- Tasks in Progress and Pending work is clearly visible on Stacked Bars so increase and ease in accountability too, also a great tool to present in team meetings and its Visual representation of the Chart will help easy to understand.
Disadvantages of Gantt Chart:
- It requires more efforts for creating, managing, and updating the Gantt chart.
- It’s a time consuming when require updating.
- Stacks represents only the time and not the hours of the work.
- Not easy to align the task and not so simple in calculating the aggregate.
When You Should Use the Gantt Chart
When you have a complex project which involves multiple tasks, a large number of team members, different timelines, deadlines and milestones involved then its highly recommendable to use Gantt Chart template for your effective project planning as it’s a user-friendly, visually appealing and easy to use. It is extremely useful in task tracking and task automation.
Gantt Chart is useful to show the link between activities known as ‘dependencies’ allowing identification of the task that might get affected by another task, so Gantt chart helps project managers to deal with the complex interdependent tasks.
Gantt Chart is like a map, it shows the whole journey, critical path, and shortcuts too so you can visualize the start and ending points in the simplest form. Also, you can see overlapping activities too. So, manage the team and tasks in a better way and keep everyone in sync. There are many project management softwares on the market that support Gantt charts (check this comparison), However, for small projects, only a simple Gantt spreadsheet would be sufficient to get the job done.
When You Should Not Use Gantt Chart
- Don’t use Gantt Chart at the very initial stage of the project planning:
In project planning multiple tasks involved, deadlines, timelines, allocated to a large team so it’s recommendable not to use Gantt Chart at the beginning but in fact it’s better you generally write the tasks, attach timelines, allocate to team mates and then put the data into the Gantt chart template as if you do it at initial stage and forget any task or estimate the deadlines wrong then firstly there is a risk to miss the task more and secondly, it will be a time consuming activity to correct the mistakes again and again.
- Don’t use for resource management:
Gantt Chart is a great tool in displaying the time and tasks and scheduling the project but it’s not very useful in resource planning, as by looking at the bar it will not clear that what level of resources are required to achieve those tasks, such as project scope, project cost, budget, Human resources and all necessary equipment. Gantt charts do not deal well with the triple constraints of the projects, time, cost, and scope.
- It is not particularly useful for smaller projects and smaller enterprises.
- Gantt charts discourage changes and are unable to easily accommodate the unexpected events.
- Gantt charts discourage innovation and focus on micro-management.
Although Gantt Chart has a few disadvantages but still it is a great project management tool especially its very helpful in simplifying the complex project where numerous tasks, big team, milestones and deadlines involve.