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Project Scheduling and Gantt charts

Project Scheduling and Gantt charts

Project scheduling is the process of arriving at a structure of the tasks, their interrelationships, the resources required, and an initial estimate of the effort and  duration required.

Key Aspects of Project Scheduling

The following are some of the key aspects of Project scheduling.

  • A project schedule is created at the beginning of a project.
  • After creation of the Project schedule, it needs to be updated with actual information on a regular basis as and when the tasks are completed.
  • In a practical scenario, a task could take less or more time than what was estimated.
  • It is required to understand the impact when the tasks in progress are likely to miss the estimates.
  • It is required to understand the possibility of moving resources from non-critical tasks or
  • future tasks to help out the slipping task.

Gantt Charts

Gantt charts are used widely in project management. Gantt charts are used in preparing project schedules. Tracking and monitoring of projects becomes easier with Gantt charts.

What is a Gantt Chart?

A Gantt chart graphically depict the duration of time that tasks in the project should take. It has a horizontal axis on the basis of time and a vertical axis on the basis of „work elements‟ in the project. The horizontal bars in the chart indicate the duration that would be required to complete each section of the project.

Evolution of the Gantt Chart

The Gantt chart was created by Henry Gantt in the year 1917. He developed the chart for helping in production flow. These charts came to be widely used as a visual aid for tracking and monitoring projects. Initially, Gantt charts had a series of tasks listed on the left side of a sheet with dates listed on the top. Along with the Gantt chart, Milestone charts were used to indicate the milestones and the expectations. Over a period of time, the two charts merged together and now we have a Gantt chart wherein the timelines and milestone expectations are available together.

 

Construction of a Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart has the following components.

  • Vertical Axis
  • Horizontal Axis
  • Graph Area

Vertical axis is used to represent the tasks in the project. Horizontal axis is used to indicate the total  duration of the project broken down further into days, weeks, or months. Graph area comprises horizontal bars for each task. In the case of dependent tasks, there are connecting lines between the end of one task and the start of another task.

Key Terminology used in Gantt Chart

The following are some of the key terminologies to be understood in a Gantt chart.

1. Resources

2. Milestones

3. Status

4. Dependencies

Let us briefly discuss some of the important terminologies used in a Gantt chart.

Resources

In a project involving teams, it would be required to have a column in the Gantt chart that indicates the names or initials of the people in the team who have responsibility for the task. In the sample Gantt chart depicted in the figure 4.4, the various resources are mentioned under the column titled „Artist‟ and are specified against each task.

Milestones

Milestones are checkpoints or intermediate goals that are important in the project and needs to be achieved. Milestones are the significant events with zero duration.

 

Status

As the project progresses, the Gantt chart is updated by filling in the bar of the task to a length that is  proportional to the quantity of work completed.

 

Dependencies

Dependencies in a project denote that some tasks are dependent on other tasks that have been completed earlier (that means, there exists a dependency for this task to begin)

Gantt charts are used widely in project management. Gantt charts are used to graphically depict the duration that the project tasks take.

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