Routledge

How to use Gantt charts

 

Gantt charts are used for planning.  Making a Gantt chart is quite easy but you can get some really sophisticated results.

 

We have given you two basic types of blank Gantt charts on this website:

Gantt chart timeline

Gantt chart project plan

 

You can print one out now.

 

Gantt charts were designed to plan and keep track of projects.

      First you list the tasks.

      Then you estimate how long each one will take.

      Finally you record when you want each task completed.

 

You won't want to use one to help people plan a night out, but you could find it useful to plan something like

      a wedding

      a work project

      building an extension onto your house

 

Break down your project into individual tasks. You might need to group these tasks if the project is quite complex, such as a big family wedding. At the start you may find it easier to use a mind map to get all your thoughts on paper and collected into groups.

 

Put each task into the left hand column – one task per row.

 

You put the dates along the top. Divide the time you have available between the columns.  The times you chose - days, weeks or months – will depend on the total length of the project.

 

You can then draw in the length of time that each task will take with a bar. Some will overlap – that means that you could be working on more than one task at a time. But tasks that can't start until another is finished must not overlap!

 

As time goes on, you update the chart by colouring in the bars as the tasks are finished. And, if there are any delays, you can amend the times for other tasks if you have to. You can check where you are at any one time.

 

We suggest that you don't have too many tasks on one chart (15 – 20). For a really large project it is necessary to break it down into several smaller projects.

 

You can adapt your chart to suit the occasion. You may want a column to indicate who is responsible for each task.

 

http://www.ganttchart.com takes you to a company that sells charts but their website has some useful examples of how to use them with colour – click on the 'examples' tab.

 

If you want to find out more about how to use Gantt charts then at

http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=397413&section=6.2

you can see how to use a Gantt chart for a project.

 

Like most things, you need to try it out to see how it can work for you. Choose something that you need to plan or have planned in the past.

Book Information / Buy the book