Using a Gantt Chart to Communicate Management Processes
Gantt charts provide a graphical representation of project planning and execution, helping you keep track of your tasks and responsibilities, from beginning to end. In simple terms, a Gantt chart is a diagram depicting the organization of a number of tasks or projects in progress with associated time and price commitments, as well as milestones, costing and schedules.
Gantt charts are often used to explain and describe your organization’s ongoing projects and business operations, without the use of complex, mechanical mathematical formulas. As a result, they’re frequently used in corporate sales presentations, financial analysis and budgeting. The list goes on, but that’s for another article.
In any event, a Gantt chart has two key aspects: the vertical line and the horizontal line. A Gantt chart, like a regular time-line graph, may be divided into horizontal lines, representing various project milestones. You can also associate key events, or key points in time, within each line (ie, an item is “changed”, for example).
To create a Gantt chart, you should use your own personal creativity. It is important to note that different charts look completely different, which makes it difficult to interpret the underlying logic. It’s best to determine first how you want the chart to look, then create a spreadsheet to get the process started.
After deciding on a system for keeping track of your Gantt’s (eg, using Microsoft Excel or some other spreadsheet application), you should plot the time line from the beginning of the project through the end. It is probably best to start plotting at the start, or just before the beginning of the project to make the project appear realistic.
It’s important to remember that the time line needs to relate to the beginning and end of the project. In this sense, the actual dates of the Gantt project should always be related to the start date.
For a shorter time line, be prepared to display a few items at a time, rather than all at once. Be wary of splicing together several dates at once, especially when the same milestone is represented by more than one line. Doing so may put the project on hold for a period, which is not desirable.
The starting date of a project (or, for that matter, of any other project, if you’re using the method outlined above) should always relate to the beginning of the project, whether or not it is the beginning of the period. If the beginning of the project is December of one year, and it ends in December of the next year, then the beginning of the next year should be a jump-off point. Conversely, if the beginning of the project is in January of the next year, and it ends January of the next year, then the beginning of the next year should be a jump-off point.
The final-year project should always begin on January 1st, whatever the starting date is. For a project that begins in December, say, the ending date should be December 31st. Similarly, for a project that begins in January, say, the end date should be January 31st.
Before you even begin plotting the time line, you should prepare a draft of the time line that will serve as your starting point. It may be good to write out a time line using Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet application before you begin plotting it, but it is usually best to convert the time line into a Gantt chart spreadsheet before you begin plotting it. If the timeline does not fit on one page, you can always resize it until it fits on one.
Finally, remember that a Gantt chart is not a tool to analyze your organization’s management, although it can certainly be used for this purpose. Instead, the Gantt chart is a visual aid to better communicate your company’s management processes. PLEASE READ : furniture inventory spreadsheet