The Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that is helpful in laying out the tasks associated with a given project. When executed properly, the Gantt chart helps to ensure that the project schedule is maintained at a reasonable pace, and that the individual tasks that make up the work breakdown schedule logically progress in a manner that moves the project closer to completion. A Gantt chart can be used for just about any type of project, from laying out a marketing strategy or planning a building project.
The chart is named after Henry Laurence Gantt, who refined the concept of using a bar chart to control steps relevant to the process of shipbuilding. During the 20th century, the essentials of his process chart were applied to projects that had nothing to do with the building of ships. Today, the Gantt chart is used to establish a precedence network that determines the priority level of each task associated with the project. At the same time, the chart also evaluates the dependency relationships of each of the tasks. Together, these two aspects of the Gantt chart make it possible arrange and project the completion time of various tasks in a manner that shows a logical progression toward the successful completion of the project.
In most cases, the Gantt chart appears as a horizontal bar chart. Each task associated with the project is accounted for on the body of the chart. Because the Gantt chart is concerned with executing the project in the most efficient manner, it also helps to define the amount of time required to complete each individual task. The chart also helps to define tasks that can be completed concurrently and which tasks cannot be addressed until other tasks are fully complete. This function helps to project both the sequence and the duration of each task involved in the project.
One of the main advantages of preparing a Gantt chart is that it provides an easy reference for how to carry out a given project by breaking it down into specific phases and tasks. This visual charting often helps to identify potential bottlenecks in the project, as well as make it easier to identify tasks that may have been overlooked in the original layout of the project. As with any type of planning tool, it is also possible to adjust the components of a Gantt chart to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances that take place during the life of the project.