Before we get into this blog post, I need to hold my hands up and confess I’m not a fan of Gantt charts. I think they are too often taken as being the be all and end all of project documents, when they don’t really provide much information.
That isn’t to say they’re not important and should be completely discarded, they just need to be used in the correct way.
So to help you decide whether to Gantt or not to Gantt, below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using Gantt charts…
Advantages of Gantt-ing:
- It’s a great way to visualise your project’s work breakdown structure and see the end-to-end time required
- It can be a great motivator for the team to see all of the tasks outlined
- You can see the critical path of your project
- You can quickly see the progress of your project
- By including resources against tasks you can easily see your resource requirements
Disadvantages of Gantt-ing:
- It only shows the project tasks, with no way to see risks, issues or budgets
- They can be very complex, especially if your project is large
- There is no way of seeing the effort required for each task, it just shows the duration. So you could have a task that is one week in duration but takes 10 people and a task that is three weeks in duration but only needs one person. Looking at the GANTT it would look like the three week task needs more effort
- They are difficult to use once they exceed one page
- You can’t see resource variation over time
Gantt charting has been around since 1910 and is a well-known and respected project management technique that I can’t see being replaced any time soon. Even with its limitations it’s well worth learning how to use Gantt charting properly.