A Gantt chart is a popular way of showing tasks against time. The list of tasks is shown down the left, and time is shown across the top. Each task is represented by a bar; the position of the bar indicates the start date while the length of the bar shows the task duration.
Using a Gantt chart to view your project lets you see several things at a glance:
- All the associated tasks
- When each task begins and ends
- How long each task is scheduled to last
- Where tasks overlap, and by how much
- The start and end date of the whole project
- Task dependencies and the project critical path
Many project managers rely on Gantt charts to track project schedules. Many project management tools will generate a Gantt chart, but not all create true dependencies and allow you to manage your project from the chart itself.
Key Gantt Chart Functionality
A fully functional Gantt chart goes beyond just a simple display. For example, a task may be scheduled to take 3 days, but it actually takes 5 days. If this task is part of your critical path, it can affect the entire project timeline. With an interactive Gantt chart, you can drag the end of the task to the new end date, and immediately see the impact on your project.
Another advantage of an interactive Gantt chart is the ability update task status on the fly. This makes it easy to update the status of a task quickly and easily.
For large, complex projects, Cloud Coach has also integrated a convenient search feature on the Gantt chart. Whether you’re looking for a single task, or everything associated with a client (as in our example below), search functions can make the process more efficient.
Advanced Gantt Charts
Beyond just scheduling, Gantt Charts allow you to break your project into phases. Phases can run concurrently or consecutively, and connect related tasks. You can consolidate your Gantt view to see just the timelines for phases, or focus on one specific phase.
When managing multiple projects organized into a program, Cloud Coach also offers a cross-project Gantt chart view. The cross-project Gantt view is very similar to the phase view of an individual project, but with a single click, you can dive into the details of any project.
Gantt charts provide a powerful and valuable tool in your project management toolbox.