A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart for project management. This organizational resource is often in the form of a software tool, although the idea of a paper-based Gantt chart is also not unfamiliar to many project managers. Using a Gantt chart can help fine-tune the project timeline for any size of project, and helps in many general planning tasks. For those who want to create a Gantt chart to help with time management, organization or in-depth analysis of a project, here are some of the most common steps involved in that process. == Steps == Sample Gantt Charts Creating Your Own Gantt Chart Understand the work breakdown structure. The Gantt chart is meant to help with a comprehensive goal of planning and implementing a work breakdown structure, which is the overall structure of the project. Knowing more about what this means can be useful for those who are planning to build a Gantt chart or use a related software resource. Learn about terminal and summary elements. Terminal elements and summary elements are two different types of project phases or modules that have their own timelines within a Gantt chart. Understanding how they differ and how they relate to each other can be useful. Gather necessary information about all steps or processes included in a greater project. This information is what the project manager will use to build the Gantt chart. Build timelines. While looking at all of the assembled information, determine how long each project step or process will take. Add this into the mix, and plot lengths for individual bars that will represent phases or processes. Shift times for results. With a general time frame in mind for each step or process, situate these within the greater Gantt chart to arrive at a deadline for each element. It can help to stagger processes to ensure smoother operations or eliminate cluster dates, which can overwhelm the project manager. Lay out all of the bars on the graph. The Gantt chart assembles all pieces relative to a fixed deadline. Within a greater project deadline, the timeline for smaller processes becomes clear for those who are looking at the Gantt chart. Evaluate dependency or relationships between phases or processes. Looking at the Gantt chart can also make it clear which parts of a project are dependent on others. Software tools can have advanced features that can help human decision makers to learn more from viewing the visual Gantt chart. Implement the Gantt chart in software. Many project managers choose to take all of the information on a Gantt chart and input it into a software environment. For example, the Excel spreadsheet tool can be an effective home for a Gantt chart. Choose appropriate software and digitize the Gantt chart to help work it into a greater software architecture.
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