Gantt chart is the horizontal bar chart that displays project activities information including activities name, start date, end date, duration or period of activity, and the relationship between activities. Ideally, a bar chart represents an activity.
In addition to the Gantt chart, there is also a Gantt table (activities table). Usually, the Gantt chart and Gantt table are displayed together.
Gantt table is a table that contains activity data which at least consists of activity name, start date, end date, and duration.
Information on the Gantt Chart
The following is an example of how a Gantt chart looks on a project.
On the Gantt chart, you can display the number of activities information including:
- Activity name
- Start date
- Finish date
- Activity period (duration)
- Relationships between activities
- Critical path
- Lag and activity lead
- Group activities on a bottom-up or down basis.
- Overall project baseline (plan).
- Comparison of activities between planning and actual.
How to Create a Gantt Chart
Creating the Gantt chart in Excel
Before making the Gantt chart you need to make detailed activities information first.
To create a Gantt table and Gantt chart, the following are the steps:
- Create Excel columns and rows consisting of information on activities name, start date, finish date, and duration.
- You can customize the Gantt table display format as needed. For example, you want to display work break down structure (WBS) information divided by project phase, area, type of work, and so on.
- After that you need to make the Gantt chart consisting of the time interval from the project start to the end of the project. Make an excel column consisting of intervals of periods from start to finish. The interval for this period can be in months, weeks, or days. The shorter your project, the smaller the intervals to use.
- Then make the horizontal bar chart depicting the whole activities from the start to the end of the project.
- Then you can add relationships between activities.
- Determine which activities are critical and which are not.
Creating Gantt Chart in Scheduling Software
Usually, after your project is defined, you need to fill in the activities name, start date, end date, and the relationship between activities.
After the data is entered, the scheduling software will automatically display a horizontal bar chart on the right side of the data table that you have entered.
In software like Microsoft Project or Primavera, if you enter the relationship correctly, the critical path will automatically appear in a different color (default is red).
By using the software you can save your plan data then fill in the actual data in different columns and compare them for monitoring purposes.
The comparison between the plan and the actual is also shown on the Gantt chart.
You can also revise the plan data and add other plan data, then compare them.
The software will automatically calculate the overall duration of your project which can be seen in the activity table and on the Gantt chart.
Task Dependencies in Gantt Chart
Ideally, each bar chart or Gantt chart on the project schedule should have at least one predecessor and one successor.
The form of dependence (relationship) between activities on the Gantt chart can be described as follows:
Finish to Start
Start to Start
Finish to Finish
Start to Finish
Example of Gantt Chart Implementation
The following is an example of how the project schedule Gantt chart displays (in Primavera) and its explanation:
When will you create a Gantt chart using scheduler or excel software?
The use of scheduler software such as Microsoft Project and Primavera clearly differs from Excel’s features.
The purpose of their use is different.
From the previous explanation it can be concluded that the use of scheduling software is as follows:
- To calculate the schedule data for a project automatically. This calculation can include project duration, WBS duration (activities group), float, critical path, cost, etc.
- For planning and actual tracking purposes.
- For further analysis such as looking at the critical path, s curve, and others.
- For data storage (database) including data on activities plans, resources, and others.
- For reporting purposes.
In addition to using the software for the purposes listed above, you also need Microsoft Excel to create a Gantt chart at some point.
The use of Excel is usually more intended to make a summary of the details of the overall activities for presentation or reporting purposes with a design according to your wishes.
Suppose you want to create a presentation material with a customized appearance, then you highlight what activities you want to display, etc.