What Are Gantt charts?
They are a useful method for showing the tasks needed to complete a particular project as well as the time needed to complete each one of those tasks. Each task is rendered as a bar running horizontally on a grid, with its length indicating the timeline of the task.
History of Gantt Charts
Gantt charts are named after Henry Gantt, who began creating his chart sometime between 1910 and 1915. However, he was not the first person to come up a chart of this style.
For example, a Polish man named Karol Adamiecki came up with something similar in 1896 but failed to secure widespread recognition because he didn’t publish it until 1931. Even when Adamiecki did publish his work, he published it in Polish and nothing but Polish, which further contributed to the lack of recognition for his work.
Likewise, a German man named Hermann Schurch published something similar in 1912, but the curious part is that such charts seemed to have been routine in his native homeland by that point in time. Unfortunately, the use of Gantt charts in Germany before Schurch remains mysterious, meaning that not much is known about how that came to be.
In short, Adamiecki was the first person known to have come up with Gantt charts, but since it was Gantt who popularized them throughout western countries, they are now recognized as Gantt charts rather than Adamiecki charts.
Why Use Gantt Charts
Gantt charts are used for much the same reasons as other visual charts. In short, they enable someone to observe a large amount of information in a single glance, thus making for more effective as well as more efficient for overall communication.
As a result, Gantt charts see widespread use in modern times for project schedules of all sorts, meaning that they can be found in every sector out there. In fact, the adoption of digital systems has made Gantt charts more popular than ever because their digitization means that they can be amended with much greater use than their predecessors. Something that will likely be factor in their usage well into the future.
What are Gantt Charts Used For?
Gantt charts are often used for a high level representation of work or goals to be accomplished over a period of time. They can be used for a variety of different cases, but in general this is the most common description of how they are used.
Gantt charts are difficult to incorporate a high level of detail into, therefor it is best that they are utilized to represent high level information, and not get into the weeds.
One of the most common uses for Gantt charts is to represent a project timeline/schedule. You can show each individual task as a row (along the y-axis), and show their progress along the x-axis. Similar to project schedules, project roadmaps utilize Gantt charts to communicate timelines – more about roadmaps here.
Gantt charts show the start and end dates for both individual tasks, as well as the project as a whole.
One of the most beneficial parts of a Gantt chart is that it can show where tasks or activities overlap, and by how much. This is important because it shows important periods of time where more than one task may be worked on.
That leads us to another important feature of Gantt charts – dependencies. Dependencies allow you to see requirements between completing one task and starting another.
Gantt Chart Examples
Courtesy of Wikipedia.org
Image courtesy of projectmanager.com