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Project Management and Gantt Chart Software: What You Need to Know

With the appearance of agile project management methodology, many organizations have started taking visual approaches to planning and reporting. How does Gantt Chart relate to this? It serves as significant roadmap visualization. This bar chart illustrates your project schedule as relevant blocks of time.

What is a Gantt Chart?

Gantt charts are traditionally applied in project management. They serve as one of the most efficient methods to show activities (i.e., tasks, events, etc showcased against time.) The list of such activities is located on the chart’s left side. Meanwhile, a suitable time scale takes place along the chart’s top. All activities are displayed by the bar. Its position and length correspond to the start and end dates of activities and their duration.

Gantt Chart Software

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A well-structured Gantt chart depicts:

  • different activities
  • when they start and end
  • how long activities will go on
  • do and how the activities are overlapping
  • start and end dates of the project

In simple English, Gantt charts represent what tasks you need to complete and when they should be done.

How to Make Gantt Charts?

There are several options for creating Gantt Charts. Your organization can draw or download an Excel template or you can apply specific project management software. In these cases, you be sure to follow these tips:

  1. Create a task list that will contain all tasks necessary for completing a project.
  2. Determine the dates of start and finish for all tasks.
  3. Provide a project timeline depending on the duration of tasks.
  4. Define task dependencies.
  5. Fill all tasks in a bar chart timeline.
  6. Assign these tasks to the employees involved.
  7. Establish milestones.
  8. Define the critical path.

Who Uses a Gantt Chart?

Many companies use them to track the manufacturing of physical products as well as software development. A Gantt chart structure concentrates on monitoring interacting project elements against time. So it is suitable for different industries and project types. Among Gantt charts users you'll find:

  • Software developers
  • Product developers
  • Marketers
  • Engineers
  • Construction managers and others

How to Track Project Schedules with a Gantt Chart?

Everything has a start and projects too. This date matches the first task start date and last task due date as the end of the final part. To define this, you can apply a work breakdown structure (WBS). That can parse your project into multiple variables that you may organize using a Gantt chart.

A good WBS represents:

  • all separate elements within a project
  • work distribution and delegation
  • budgets and costs distribution
  • subdivision of the project sections into smaller groups

Therefore, your Gantt chart takes all tasks and subtasks for plotting them separately against time. That shows their progress and reflects their interconnection.

What Are the Must-Have Features for Gantt Chart Software?

Gantt chart software helps ease the process of monitoring and tracking data for the project. So project managers focus on more critical issues to resolve.

The appropriate Gantt chart software provides the following must-have features:

  • Milestones showcase the end of relevant work, task sequences, or stages of your project. In most cases, milestones serve as fixed or critical dates on a project schedule.
  • Linked tasks are a kind of dependencies that show linked or related tasks. Also, a Gantt chart shows links with lines, while arrows point to the following tasks. You can configure dependencies in such ways: start-to-finish, start-to-start, finish-to-finish, finish-to-start.
  • Summary tasks serve as an efficient approach to placing several activities in one group, like a part of each project phase. They demonstrate the task progress so you can view in the single bar.
  • Collaboration. Your team can chat and comment on different tasks for better progress and keep the workflow documented. If you send alerts to the entire team when tasks have been updated keeps everyone on the same page.
  • File sharing. Attach files, images, or videos for documenting the task progress. So you can store all the necessary data in a single place.
  • Task progress can be represented in various ways. For example, shading on the bar shows you the progress of defined work. Or you can track the actual progress by looking in your settings.

What Project Management Software Uses a Gantt Chart?

There is no shortage of project management software out there. In turn, an efficient Gantt chart tool is also incredibly popular but how can you select the best Gantt chart software? Here is a brief overview of several well-performing project management platforms that includes a Gantt chart feature.

Smartsheet

Smartsheet helps keep all project data in order. Be ready for a techy design since the vendor provides only online spreadsheets. The platform has many useful templates that are suitable for various requirements. Also, you can click on various parts for connecting relevant tasks, expenses, dependencies, or general projected-related data.

Among the critical benefits of working with Smartsheet are numerous customization options. Besides, you can set up workflow automations within a program. But you have no autosave options, which is definitely a downside. Also, Smartsheet cannot update in real-time: if some people are working with a program simultaneously, you wouldn't know about that.

Key features:

  • Portfolio of spreadsheet templates
  • Precursor tasks
  • Automated workflows

Wrike

Wrike is famous for its outstanding organizational design. This project management software provides a table view, along with assigned tasks, assignees, start and finish dates what makes it comprehensible.

Wrike is considered the best tool for the Gantt chart since it allows seeing responsibilities and tracking performance. You can do that by using the Workload View, one of its prominent features. It also offers appropriate communication within a team and makes them stay on top of different changes, which reduces the number of meetings.

In addition, Wrike provides some new intelligent features, specific account types, and the opportunity to manage everything your company needs. The platform allows businesses of various types and sizes to refer to large projects or simple ongoing tasks.

The only disadvantage: there are many different client plans so it is challenging to choose the suitable one.

Key features:

  • Critical path
  • The hierarchy of folders
  • Collaborative editing within a team

ClickUp

ClickUp serves as an elegant Gantt chart tool. It delivers scheduling, managing dependencies, and prioritizing tasks within a project timeline. Click Up offers a swift interface, which helps manage everything smoothly.

But if you need the Gantt chart view option, you should get access to a specific ClickUp paid plan. This plan offers numerous critical features and options that allow working more effectively. ClickUp is an inexpensive system, including portfolio management, resource management, or cost-to-completion monitoring. However, it may become challenging to implement several options since the platform offers too many features.

Meanwhile, you can also find it hard to start with Click Up and get things situated. For example, in the case of mistakes, you may obtain problems regarding the whole system. Therefore, you will require some help and analyze training options to learn more about how Click Up works.

Key features:

  • Numerous views
  • Assigned comments
  • Taskbar
  • Notifications

Monday.com

Monday.com is among the most up-to-date project management solutions. It offers customers much more than simple project management functions. With Monday, you get options for efficient collaboration and task management, and even CRM tools. Also, you can customize everything to your business needs.

Monday is the right choice for those who believe that more functionality is better. But the only drawback is that software is quite confusing to define the system you desire to work with.

In terms of pricing, Monday offers various programs and plans. So you get a bit lost when comparing its plans and prices.

Key features:

  • Collaboration & CRM tools
  • Customizable options
  • In-app automation

Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project serves as one of the most reliable project management tools. Many companies consider it as the go-to option because it is created by Microsoft. But the project management platform can fail to provide enough flexibility compared to online Gantt charts.

On the other hand, it is efficient when you need to monitor resources, budgets, and timeframes within a large project. That makes Microsoft Project a suitable option for those organizations that require a large set of features and power.

The particular software provides many highly-detailed options, along with customizable reports, that no other system offers. However, if you do not require additional features, you think about implementing a simple tool. After all, Microsoft Project has limited integration capabilities, although this solution is quite expensive.

Key features:

  • Lists & attachments
  • Budget analysis
  • Advanced reporting tools

Recap

The Gantt chart is a flexible tool that offers a comprehensive look at the progress of a project. It helps project teams to understand task duration, resource usage, and workload better. If you consider implementing a project management tool or moving from your current software, Project Management System migration is to your service. Check out how to transfer your historic data automatedly via the Migration Wizard.

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