learn what it is, its benefits and how to make yours – WAU

It is common for small business owners to end up being responsible for everything that revolves around the business, and that includes marketing strategies. To achieve certain achievements within your business, it is recommended to create projects and, to execute them well, you will need to create a Gantt chart.

The creation and management of projects allows strategies, whether marketing or not, to take maximum advantage, from the planning phase to the execution phase.

For example: if you want to sell more, but do not know how, a revenue increase project can show you step by step and also the level of evolution of each of its stages.

And the graphs illustrate this development very well, so we dedicate this post to explain what are the advantages of the Gantt graph and how to assemble it in your projects. Come on?

What is the Gantt chart?

The Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule, named after its inventor, Henry Gantt who designed this model at the beginning of the last century. Modern Gantt charts also show the dependency relationships between activities and the current status of the schedule.

A Gantt chart lists the tasks to be performed on the vertical axis and time intervals on the horizontal axis. The width of the horizontal bars shows the duration of each activity, as shown in the example:

Graphic example of Gantt

In addition, it illustrates the start and end dates of the terminal elements and the summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements constitute the analytical structure of the project. Modern Gantt charts also show the dependency relationships between activities.

How can the Gantt chart be used?

Gantt charts can be used to show the status of the current schedule using full percentage shading. Therefore, they are sometimes compared with bar graphs.

However, they are usually created initially using an early start approach, where each task is scheduled to start immediately when its prerequisites are completed. This method maximizes the flotation time available for all tasks.

What are the benefits of the Gantt chart?

Here we outline the main advantages of using the Gantt chart when managing a project. Check out:

Clarity

One of the biggest benefits of the Gantt chart is the the tool’s ability to reduce multiple tasks and schedules into a single document. That is, you can easily understand where your marketing and sales actions are in a process, while understanding the ways in which the independent elements come together to complete the project.

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Communication

You can use Gantt charts to improve other status updates. Simply clarifying the chart’s positions provides an easy visual method to help you understand the task’s progress.

Motivation

Some professionals become more effective when faced with a form of external motivation. Gantt charts offer the ability to focus work in front of a task timeline or at the end of a segment of the chart.

That’s why Gantt charts are so significant, after all they associate their work habits with the overall project schedule.

Coordination

For small business owners, the benefits of a Gantt chart include the ability to sequence events and reduce the potential for work overload. Some people even use combinations of charts to break projects into more manageable sets of tasks.

Creativity

Sometimes, the lack of time or resources forces the project managers to find creative solutions. Seeing how individual tasks intertwine on the Gantt charts often encourages new partnerships and collaborations that may not have evolved in traditional task assignment systems.

Time management

Most project managers consider planning to be one of the main benefits of Gantt charts in a creative environment. Helping teams understand the overall impact of project delays can promote stronger collaboration and, at the same time, encourage better organization of tasks.

Flexibility

When using Excel to generate Gantt charts or load tasks into a more accurate chart generator, the ability to output new charts as your project evolves allows you to react to unexpected changes in the project’s scope or timeline.

While revising the project schedule very often can eliminate some of the other benefits of Gantt charts, realistic view of a project can help team members recover from setbacks or adjust to other changes.

Manageability

For project managers dealing with complex assignments (such as events, for example), the benefits of Gantt charts include outsourcing assignments. By viewing all the pieces of a design puzzle, you can make more focused and effective decisions about resources and timelines.

Efficiency

Another benefit of Gantt charts is the ability to take advantage of others’ deadlines for maximum efficiency. For example, while you wait for the result of three other tasks before starting a crucial part of a step, you can perform other tasks on the project.

Visualizing resource usage during projects allows managers to get more out of people, places and things.

Accountability

When your company is going through major organizational changes, documenting the effort and results becomes crucial to success. The use of Gantt charts during critical projects allows you to track the team’s progress, highlighting great victories and great failures.

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How to make the Gantt chart?

And you must be wondering how to make a Gantt chart for your company’s projects, right? Well, here we have prepared a step by step for you to do it in Excel.

1. Create a task table

List each task in your project in order of start date, from start to finish. Include the task name, start date, duration and end date.

Make your list as complete as possible. Due to Excel’s limitations, adding steps or zooming may force you to format the entire chart.

2. Build a bar chart

In the top menu, select “insert” and then click on the bar graph icon. When the drop-down menu appears, choose the flat stacked bar graph, highlighted in green below. This will insert a blank chart into your spreadsheet.

Add start date data

Position the mouse over the empty Excel chart and right-click. Then, left click on “select data”. The “select source” data window will appear.

Click on the empty series name in the form field first, then click on the table cell that says “Start date”.

Click on the icon at the end of the series “values” field. The icon is a small spreadsheet with a red arrow. This will open the “edit series” window.

Click on the first start date and drag the mouse to the last start date. After the correct dates are highlighted, click on the icon at the end of the “edit series” form. The window will be closed and the previous window will be reopened. Select OK. Your start dates are now on the Gantt chart.

Then, add the “durations” column using the same procedure used to add the start dates.

Under “caption entries”, click “add”. Click on the empty name of the series, then in the form field, and then click on the table cell that says “duration”.

After the durations are highlighted, click on the icon at the end of the “edit series” form. The window will be closed and the previous window will be reopened. Select OK. Their durations are now on their Gantt chart. Click OK twice.

3. Format your Gantt chart

What you have now is a stacked bar chart. The start dates are blue and the durations are orange.

Note that your tasks are in reverse order. To correct this, click on the task list to select them, then right-click on the list and choose “format axis”. Select the “categories in reverse order” checkbox and close.

To give more space to the Gantt chart, delete the caption “start date”, duration on the right. Select it with the mouse and click delete.

Hide the blue parts of each bar. Clicking on the blue part of any bar will select all of them. Then, right-click and choose “format data series”.

Click Fill and select “no fill”. Click on the border color and select “no line”. Then, you just need to remove the empty white space at the beginning of your Gantt chart.

Click on the first start date in your data table. Right-click on it, select “format cells” and then “general”. Write down the number you see. Click “cancel” to make no changes here.

On the Gantt chart, select the dates above the bars, right-click and choose “format axis”.

Change the minimum limit for the number you recorded. Change the main unit to 2 every two days. You can play around with this to see what works best for you.

Select “close”.

If you want your Gantt chart to look a little better, remove most of the white space between the bars.

Finally, click on the top orange bar and, with the right button, select “format data series”. Set the separate field to 100% and the gap width to 10%.

Ready! Your Gantt chart is complete and can be applied to your project management. In fact, if you found the subject interesting, we also invite you to read this full post we wrote about Swot Analysis!