What Is a Gantt Chart? Definition, Benefits, and Uses

Updated November 2, 2022

Individuals frequently use Gantt charts to manage projects. Gantt charts are a visual display of project tasks and timelines. Learning about Gantt charts can help you to get the benefits of using this type of organization graph in the workplace. In this article, we define what a Gantt chart is, discuss its advantages and elements, provide guidance in choosing Gantt chart software, and discuss the type of jobs that use Gantt charts.

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What is a Gantt chart?

Consider the following information to understand the answer to "What is a Gantt chart?":

A Gantt chart is a bar graph that can help you organize projects. It displays the project tasks along one axis and the duration of the tasks along the other, making it easy to visualize and maintain project schedules and deadlines. Gantt charts can also help keep track of a project's resources and dependencies. It also keeps everyone involved in the project up-to-date on its progress and allows project managers to assign tasks to individuals for completion.

Related: 8 Types of Project Charts for Effective Project Management

Benefits of using a Gantt chart

There are many reasons someone may choose to use a Gantt chart. Possible benefits of this type of chart include:

Easily understood

A Gantt chart displays information in a way that makes it easy for project managers and their team managers to comprehend. It organizes team tasks into different sections, allowing individuals to monitor progress and timelines. A Gantt chart provides an easy visual of a project and how tasks relate to timelines.

Reduced risk

Putting a project into a Gantt chart can help to reduce its overall risk. This is because you can use a Gantt chart to identify any possible bottlenecks of the process. After all, it visualizes the entire timeline. It also links tasks and their dependencies, making it easy to determine how the project needs to progress. Gantt charts make it more straightforward to identify tasks that project managers may have omitted from the project timeline. This organization can help to ensure that the project stays on budget.

Streamlined production

Gantt charts can help to streamline production during projects in several ways. It can ensure that the project manager includes all essential tasks on the project timeline and can allow them to eliminate any non-essential tasks. These charts can help determine which tasks are dependent, meaning that the project manager can ensure that they assign these tasks to team members for completion. The Gantt chart can also help project managers to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) or goals for the project.

Increased communication

Using Gantt charts can be an important part of the communication that takes place during a project. The chart allows all project members to monitor progress, including stakeholders and executives. Gantt charts also ensure that project managers assign all tasks to team members. It gives these team members clear timelines for completing each task.

Related: How to Create a Project Communication Plan (With Template)

What are Gantt charts used for?

Many different industries can use Gantt charts to help visualize tasks and projects. Industries that use Gantt charts include business, manufacturing, marketing, human resources, technology, and engineering. They can be helpful for any project that has deliverables so that project managers can track project progress, allocate resources efficiently, and prioritize dependent tasks. They can also be useful in the planning stage of a project to schedule projects and resources.

Elements of Gantt charts

Components of Gantt charts can vary depending on the project, but all Gantt charts usually include the same three basic elements. These include the tasks that need to be completed, listed along the y-axis, project milestones, listed along the x-axis, and progress bars, indicating how much of each task individuals have accomplished.

To further organize and visualize your project, you may also choose to include dependencies, which are indicated by arrows, dates, and milestones. Adding task IDs can also make it easier for team members to identify which task individuals are discussing, while listing names and resources can also help the project stay organized.

Considerations when choosing a Gantt chart software

You can create Gantt charts in spreadsheet software or most project management programs. You may also choose to use a specific Gantt chart application, either as a desktop tool or online. Before you decide what Gantt chart software works best for you, you may want to consider the reason you want to use it, the number of projects you work on at one time, and whether you may benefit from collaborating with others on your Gantt chart. When you are choosing Gantt chart software, consider the importance of looking for the following features:

  • The ability to easily share Gantt charts with others and collaborate

  • The licenses of the software, determining whether only the project manager can update it on a single computer, or if you can install the software on multiple devices

  • Whether the cost of the software is impacted by an increase in the number of users

  • The facility to set working hours and monitor team members' progress

  • Additional collaboration methods, such as file sharing, image sharing, videos, and note taking

  • The capacity to create and update milestones

  • The ability to customize dependencies

  • the provision to monitor task progress

  • The potential to integrate with third-party applications

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Who uses Gantt charts?

Anyone who manages a project that would benefit from the ability to visualize everything involved would profit from a Gantt chart. While individuals in all industries can use Gantt charts, they are most beneficial for the following professions:

Operations manager

National average salary: $68,786 per year

Primary duties: The responsibility of an operations manager is to ensure that a company's jobs are running effectively. They help ensure that operations are cost-effective, improve processes, manage the inventory and warehouse, and monitor staffing requirements. They may work in organizations of various sizes and in a number of different industries, such as finance, information technology, and human resources. In order to become an operations manager, businesses typically require a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field.

Project manager

National average salary: $76,238 per year

Primary duties: Project managers supervise and coordinate the progress of a project, from its creation to its conclusion. This includes assigning tasks, managing budgets, and monitoring project progress. They may also coordinate with different teams, create schedules, and supervise those working on the project. Project managers may work in several different industries, including construction, software, healthcare, and engineering. Education requirements for a project manager typically include a high school diploma and associated work experience, but some companies may also require a bachelor's degree.

Related: 22 Essential Project Management Skills

IT project manager

National average salary: $103,317 per year

Primary duties: IT project managers are responsible for planning and executing projects in the field of information technology. Their duties include collaborating with other IT teams, managing team members, and monitoring progress to complete their goals successfully. In order to become an IT project manager, most companies require a bachelor's degree in information technology or a related field.

Marketing manager

National average salary: $63,351 per year

Primary duties: A marketing manager is responsible for promoting and raising awareness of a product or service, with the goal of helping a company to make sales. Duties might include managing websites, handling social media accounts, improving public relations, communications, and press, managing advertisements, and analyzing data in order to make choices that offer companies the best return on their marketing investments. They might also develop marketing strategies, create short-term and long-term marketing plans, manage members of the marketing team, and organize marketing budgets. Most companies require marketing managers to have a bachelor's degree in marketing, business, or another related field.

Related: 10 Skills of a Marketing Manager

Event manager

National average salary: $51,324 per year

Primary duties: Event managers are responsible for planning and executing an event from start to finish, creating it based on the target audience and goals of the individuals hosting it. They produce, promote, and coordinate the event, working to make it profitable. The duties of an event manager include hiring personnel to operate the occasion, coordinating with vendors, managing the promotion of the event, supervising staff, and creating and managing budgets.

Once it takes place, an event manager may also analyze data to determine the success of the experience and prepare reports about how to make the next one more successful. Companies may require event managers to have a bachelor's degree in public relations, marketing, hospitality, or a related field.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organization‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌, ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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