A Gantt chart is a schedule which guides a project's key steps from both timing and resource perspectives. Typically, the chart contains dates located across the top and tasks situated down the left side of the document. The corresponding cell where the task and the date intersect is colored if a given resource is planned to be used on that date. The advantage of a Gantt chart is that it is easy to see at a glance how many resources will be required and when they will be used. The chart also provides an accurate estimate of a project's duration. While creating and completing a Gantt chart may take time, it will be an invaluable tool during the life of a project.
Things You'll Need
- Project start and end dates
- Task list
- Spreadsheet software
Create a list of all of the resources and tasks required to complete the project. Resources may be in the form of personnel or equipment needed. A project's tasks are the specific steps that need to be accomplished. Make a note next to each task indicating the date that it needs to commence by and the date it needs to be completed by.
Open your chosen spreadsheet application and select a blank spreadsheet.
List the tasks in the left-hand column of your sheet. Be sure to list these tasks in chronological order.
Write dates across the top row of your spreadsheet. If the project is not estimated to take long, you may wish to enter dates in one day increments. For projects with a longer duration, you may wish to enter the dates in one week increments.
Refer to your start and end dates. Color in the cells that correspond to the task being performed. For example, if the task is "Plaster walls" and you estimate that this will take two weeks to complete, starting from May 7, color in the cells from May 7 to May 21 against that specific task.
Repeat this process until all of the task durations have been colored in. You can now see how long your project is expected to take. You can also use the information to identify areas where task durations can be shortened in order to save time and money.
Tips & Warnings
- Try not to be too detailed with your tasks, otherwise the chart will become unreadable. Stick to headings such as "Plaster walls" instead of "Plaster Room 1," "Plaster Room 2," and so on.
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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