Until quite recently, I didn’t realise how much I am addicted to Gantt Charts. I check mine everyday and it really helps me deliver all my projects that I work on not only on time but to the best of my ability. This blog will allow you to understand not only what a Gantt chart is but how you can make them. You too can become Lord of the Gannt Chart.So firstly what is a Gantt Chart?
Well, it is a graphical representation of a project and it allows you to see what needs to be done, when it needs to be completed by and, more importantly, if there is more than one person working on the project, who needs to do it.
I am going to use the example of completing a dissertation to try and make it crystal clear and hopefully it should help you eliminate pulling all-nighters
How do you complete one?
1. Make a task list of everything you need to do. E.g supervisor meeting, conduct primary research, literature reviews, write section 1, write conclusion, complete a summary, check for spelling mistakes, add references, check formatting, print it off, get it bound and hand it in (use this as a starter, there are loads more examples)
2. Find out the key dates and add them to your list. For example: hand in date, supervisor meetings and initial proposal deadline date
3. Order the dates in chronological order
4. Turn on your computer, get off Facebook and open excel
5. Put the chronological ordered list down the left hand side
6. Put week commencing dates along the top
7. Use the coloured highligher icon (it looks like a paint tin) to highlight when you are going to do these activities. Take into consideration how some aspects of the projects can’t take place at the same time but others can. For example you can carry put primary and secondary research at the same time but you can’t produce a conclusion before you do the research. If this a a group project you might want to consider who is going to do what at the different stages and assign them a different colour
8. BINGO. You have made your Gannt Chart. All you need to do now is complete the tasks. Once you have done them, I tend to write complete in them as it keeps me motivated! Check it every week and just make sure that you keep on track. If you don’t, alter the dates and make sure to meet those key deadlines..
Although I use Excel, this is because it is easily available and most people are familiar with it. There are other software available which you might want to use instead. One example is Microsoft Project.
I hope you find this useful and an essential tool for your project work. This is one of a series of blogs on project management, check out my other blogs to get more hints and tips on how to make your project successful.
(Thanks to IvanWalsh.com for the image)