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Gantt Chart Basics.

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Gantt Chart Basics. Gantt charts are a project planning tool that can be used to represent the timing of tasks required to complete a project. Because Gantt charts are simple to understand and easy to construct, they are used by most project managers for all but the most complex projects. In a Gantt chart, each task takes up on row. Dates run along the top in increments of days, weeks or months, depending on the total length of the project. The expected time for each task is represented by a horizontal bar whose left end marks the expected beginning of the task and whose right end marks the expected completion date. Tasks may run sequentially, in parallel or overlapping. ...read more.


More complex projects may require subordinate charts which detail the timing of all the subtasks which make up one of the main tasks. For team projects, it often helps to have an additional column containing numbers or initials which identify who on the team is responsible for the task. Often the project has important events which you would like to appear on the project timeline, but which are not tasks. For example, you may wish to highlight when a prototype is complete or the date of a design review. You enter these on a Gantt chart as "milestone" events and mark them with a special symbol, often an upside-down triangle. An sample Gantt chart made using Excel appears in the figure which accompanies this document. ...read more.


Decide what resolution to use in the timeline. For projects of three months or less, use days, for longer projects use weeks or months, and for very short project use hours. For these instructions, we will assume you have chosen a resolution of days. Fire up Excel. Under Page Setup, select landscape orientation, center the chart horizontally and vertically on the page and activate the "fit to one page" button. (Note that if the text comes out too small, you may have to print your chart on two pages and paste together. Even better, adjust the resolution of your date scale or drop less important tasks to make your chart fit comfortably on one page.) Set up the cells using the sample as a guide. Enter appropriate data. As the project progresses, fill in the light colored bars with solid to denote the fraction of a task that is completed. ...read more.

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