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What is Gantt chart software?
A Gantt chart is a production control tool developed by Henry L. Gantt in 1917. Gantt chart software systems are now extensively used in project management to map project tasks against designated time periods. Each task is represented by a progress bar that reflects the duration of the task along with its start and end dates. Task dependencies and connections are displayed using arrows, and overlapping tasks are differentiated by specific colors. Businesses can purchase Gantt chart software as a standalone solution or as part of a larger project management software suite.
The benefits of Gantt chart software
- Better representation of project tasks: The biggest advantage in using Gantt chart software is that all stakeholders can view the overall progress of a project and track resource allocations on a single screen. It gives users a clear picture of the start/end date of their individual tasks.
- Graphical representation offers better visibility of project timeline: Gantt charts display project progress graphically, which can be easier to understand than reporting insights in text format. Everyone shares a common view of the project timeline and overall status, which limits the need for a separate communications tool to report project status.
- Efficient time and resource management: Each task in a Gantt chart is represented by a bar that reflects the start/end date and total time required to complete the task. This helps project managers and team members manage their time and resources efficiently, and facilitates setting realistic targets/goals.
Typical features of Gantt chart software
- Bar chart: Represent tasks via individual bars on a complete Gantt chart. Each bar highlights its own properties (e.g., start and end dates, resource allocation, dependencies on other tasks, etc.).
- Project scheduling: Organize and schedule project activities on a connected timeline and display the start and end dates of underlying tasks.
- Task management: Identify project needs, allocate resources, add task notes, and manage the execution of workflows.
- Dependency tracking: Specify relationships between individual tasks and determine the sequence in which each must be completed.
- Drag and drop: Add, modify, or remove tasks by dragging and dropping.
- Milestone tracking: Define and set critical indicators of task progress and track completion to better manage project workflows.
Considerations when purchasing Gantt chart software
- Do you need standalone Gantt chart software or a full project management suite? A Gantt chart reflects what’s going on with a project and its different tasks, with limited functionality to create, control, and change parameters. A full project management software suite, on the other hand, provides features that cover broader aspects of project management, such as budgeting, resource forecasting, and timesheet management. Assess your unique requirements to identify which option best meets your needs and budget.
- The size and complexity of a project: Generally, Gantt chart solutions are designed to handle projects spanning two to three months. They aren’t typically capable of supporting complex projects that involve multiple iterations at different levels, and have dynamic workflows and evolving deadlines. These factors must be considered before implementing Gantt chart software to support a particular project.
Relevant Gantt chart software trends
- Cloud-based Gantt chart applications will gain momentum: Businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud for project management solutions. Lower upfront costs and easy scalability are contributors to this trend. As businesses strive to become asset-light and nimble to respond to highly dynamic market environments, the market for cloud-based project management solutions will continue to grow, which will trickle down to sub-categories like Gantt chart software.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will make project management easier: Gantt chart software vendors have started adding AI and machine learning capabilities to their solutions. These technologies help end users analyze huge volumes of data collected from past projects and gain relevant insights regarding task distribution, time and resource allocation, potential risks, and the best ways to execute a project.