Gantt charts are a tool that project managers can utilize in order to manage timelines, tasks, and be more productive. But how does a gantt chart work? And what are the advantages of a gantt chart? Here are some actionable tips for making the most out of this powerful project management tool.
What is a gantt chart and why is it important?
In addition to helping project managers get an overview of active work across all departments, gantt charts also help team members focus on nitty-gritty details. They basically hold anything and everything project-related while keeping it all streamlined and easy to understand.
They are also highly visual and easy to read. Users can view multiple timelines on a single dashboard and color-code actionable tasks based on project, priority, or even employee. Intuitive features like these also enhance the usability of gantt charts.
So, no matter what your level of project management experience is, gantt charts facilitate more sophisticated project management practices while improving performance across the board with little to no tool adoption lag.
How does a gantt chart work?
To use a gantt chart, all you have to do is start a new project and enter all the details (team members, timelines, tasks, etc). Once the project begins, team members can update task statuses which then show up on your color-coded dashboard.
After that, all you have to do focus on is overseeing the projects since their workflows all automatically take care of themselves.
You can even keep up with all the latest updates or delays from one central platform. Or, if you need more in-depth information, just filter through existing projects to find specific statuses, team member workloads, task time frames, and more.
What are the advantages of a gantt chart?
So what are the advantages of a gantt chart, really? In addition to the benefits we already touched on above, here are some more reasons why gantt charts are so great for project management:
- Gantt charts are excellent for resource management. You can easily fit tasks and their relative durations into established timelines and ensure work is evenly distributed across teams.
- Gantt charts help you predict and/or overcome roadblocks before they derail projects. At-a-glance timelines can help you locate potential bottlenecks within individual projects. And, if you’re running multiple projects at the same time, it becomes easier to reorganize and allocate resources without missing a beat.
- Gantt charts keep everyone on the same page at all times. They offer transparency to the entire process for both your teams and your clients.
And here are some common gantt chart mistakes as well as tips on how to avoid them:
- Gantt charts provide a simple solution to a complex problem. However, they can also become messy and counterproductive if you’re not careful. To prevent this from happening, make sure you don’t assign too many task dependencies.
- Gantt charts give team members autonomy by relying on individuals to keep it updated, but this might not always happen on time or in the right way. If someone mismarks or forgets to update a task, it can throw off the rest of the workflow. Give your team clear guidelines for how and when to mark tasks to ensure key updates are made.
- Gantt charts make it obvious how long tasks should take but not how many people are needed to complete the task itself. You can resolve this issue in Wrike by either assigning one task to multiple individuals or an entire team.
How to prepare a gantt chart
Here’s a step by step guide on how to fill out a gantt chart using Wrike:
- Create a new Project. Add a title that your entire team will recognize and understand.
- Add a task. Every task gets a name, description, as well as start and due dates. You can also add its duration (how long you think the task should take). Once you’re finished adding in the details you can assign the task to an individual or a team. Repeat this step until all the project’s tasks are added.
- Set a milestone. Milestones are tasks that represent the most important steps in a project, including everything from key due dates to completion. These are especially important if you’re juggling more than one active project at a time. To create a milestone, simply open the very last task in the project timeline and mark “Convert to milestone”.
- Add dependencies. Some tasks cannot be started until another task is finished. That’s where dependencies come in. You can choose to trigger or end tasks when another task is completed or started. Anyone associated with those tasks will be automatically notified when the project gets to that step, which eliminates the need to remind everyone.
Boost productivity with gantt charts today
Ready to take advantage of all the benefits gantt charts have to offer? Then give Wrike’s free trial a spin.