What is a 'Gantt Chart'

A Gantt chart is a graphical depiction of a project schedule. It's is a type of bar chart that shows the start and finish dates of several elements of a project that include resources, milestones, tasks and dependencies. Henry Gantt, an American mechanical engineer, designed the Gantt chart.

BREAKING DOWN 'Gantt Chart'

The Gantt chart is the most widely used chart in project management. These charts are useful in planning a project and defining the sequence of tasks that require completion. In most instances, the chart is displayed as a horizontal bar chart. Horizontal bars of different lengths represent the project timeline, which can include task sequences, duration, and the start and end dates for each task. The horizontal bar also shows how much of a task requires completion. The length of the bar is proportional to the time necessary for a task’s completion. The project tasks are represented on the vertical axis.

How It Works

A Gantt chart helps in scheduling, managing, and monitoring specific tasks and resources in a project. The chart shows the project timeline, which includes scheduled and completed work over a period. The Gantt chart aids project managers in communicating project status or plans and also helps ensure the project remains on track.

The chart identifies tasks that may be executed in parallel and those that cannot be started or finished until other tasks are complete. The Gantt chart can help detect potential bottlenecks and identify tasks that may have been excluded from the project timeline.

The chart depicts task slack time or additional time for completion of a task that should not delay the project, noncritical activities that may be delayed and critical activities that must executed on time.

For example, if the project is about installing new software on a server, the project tasks that require completion are conducting of research, selecting a software product, testing the software and installing it. A milestone is selecting a software. These tasks appear as vertical lines on the chart. The project duration is 40 days. Each task takes 10 days to complete, and each task is dependent on the previous task. A critical activity is testing the software in the development and test environments. The task start and end dates, duration, and milestones appear as horizontal bars. The percentage of work completed for each task also is displayed on the horizontal bars.

When to Use

Gantt charts can be used in managing projects of all sizes and types. These charts are utilized in several industries and for a range of projects, such as building dams, bridges and highways, software development, and development of other goods and services. Project management tools, such as Microsoft Visio, Project, SharePoint and Excel, or specialized software, such as Gantto or Matchware, can help in designing Gantt charts.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Weekly Chart

    A weekly chart is a technical price chart where each data point ...
  2. Daily Chart

    A daily chart is a graph that displays the movements of a given ...
  3. Bar Chart

    A bar chart depicts the price range of a security during a given ...
  4. Marubozo

    A Marubozo is a type of candlestick charting formation that appears ...
  5. Bar

    A bar is a graphical representation of a financial instrument's ...
  6. Chart Formation

    A chart formation is a graphical depiction of a stock's price ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    Analyzing Chart Patterns

    Learn how to evaluate a stock with a few easy-to-identify chart patterns.
  2. Trading

    Multiple Time Frames Can Multiply Returns

    Short-term and intermediate charts complement the underlying trend and refine entries and exits.
  3. Trading

    The Right Way to Set Up Your Trading Screens

    Well-organized trading screens can speed up complex decision making.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the differences between a bar chart and candle sticks?

    Explore the difference between bar and candlestick charts. Learn how technical analysts use charts in the analysis of supply ... Read Answer >>
  2. Why use bank guarantees in long-term project contracts?

    Learn what a bank guarantee is and find out why it is so important to the risk and safety of a long-term project contract ... Read Answer >>
  3. How do you use discounted cash flow to calculate a capital budget?

    Learn how discounted cash flows are used in creating capital budgets as a part of the net present value and internal rate ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are some of the better types of financial analysis software?

    Discover what features make for good financial analysis software, some popular options and why analysts need to pick the ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center