Are we setting our managers (or ourselves) up for a mission impossible? Is asking them to manage so many varied tasks simultaneously even feasible? It is with the right tools. A Gantt chart is one of those smart tools that help successful managers do their job and do it well. Organizing all the various projects, schedules, and more, Gantt charts create order where there would otherwise be chaos, provide structure, logic, and clarity where there was once the exact opposite. Intrigued? Check out what Gantt charts are, how they can help improve productivity, and where to find the best options for your business.
What are Gantt Charts?
Let's begin with a working definition, then we can springboard off of that. A Gantt chart is a chart that displays information in bars or boxes in a visually comprehensive manner. It's basically a simplified and visual portrayal of a project. Gantt charts can be broken down into individual tasks, team members, projects, and more. Your charts can be organized by date and designed to give you the most informative display method for your team. In a word (or 2), a Gantt chart is project organization.
How Gantt Charts Can Boost Your Business Power
Ok, that sounds great and all, but you're probably wondering what has Gantt done for me lately. In fact, these charts are used by the most successful managers to quickly, easily, and efficiently organize their projects into digestible chunks of information.
- Forced organization
Another reason Gantt charts are so successful at getting the job done with maximum efficiency is because they force you to get organized. A lot of times, managers are so busy planning, delegating, and juggling that they cut corners on some of the seemingly less important tasks like the planning stage. This can cause hiccups or major disasters to occur later on down the road because of an oversight. When mapping out your Gantt chart, you'll be forced to think through the entire project. So, you can see who needs to be responsible for which tasks, create time estimates for each assignment, allocate resources appropriately, and foresee any problems that might arise. This type of planning is a smart and easy way to avoid issues from the get-go.
Scheduling is the most common purpose Gantt charts are used for. Because of the way they're designed, Gantt charts automatically make it easier to see the information quickly and clearly. As such, it makes it much easier for managers to assign tasks and easier for the team members to tackle their own assignments.
But even more useful, Gantt charts are great for delegating tasks within a certain timeframe and helping teams stay on schedule. Team members can see clearly how many tasks are due that day, that week, or that month. They can plan their workload accordingly. Managers can see how teams are progressing and whether or not they need to reassign a task if someone is falling behind.
Gantt charts also help keep tasks organized and accomplished in a specific order. Not sticking to a proper schedule or missing a deadline could easily throw everyone on the team off, or even derail an entire project and sink a lucrative client. Gantt charts help avoid that.
- Visual appeal
Visual display makes it easier for anyone to see the tasks individually and the project as a whole more clearly. What's more, there are many people who are visual learners and workers. They just don't process information that's given over verbally as well as they do with visual instructions. Gantt charts provide a visual aid to assist these types of team members with a clearer picture of what needs to be done.
- Information sharing and updates
Finally, Gantt charts help you keep your team and clients updated on your progress. Every team member has a clear picture of what's going on, where you're holding in the process, and what's coming up next. This makes tackling a big project more manageable. It also allows your clients to see how you're progressing with their project.
Finding the Right Project Management Service for Your Business
Ready to let a Gantt chart work its magic for your company? Check out the 5 best project management services that excel at this particular feature.
- Totally customizable display
- Rock-solid reputation
- Pre-made Gantt chart templates
- More expensive than some competitors
- No PDF markup functionality
Monday.com is at the top of the food chain when it comes to collaboration and project management tools. That's because it offers one of the most robust sets of features out there today and is still comprehensive and easy to use. Monday.com has pre-fab Gantt charts, offers easy customization, and provides fast and easy editing of task lists, dependencies, and project projections. Its functionality is second to none.
- Lots of collaboration tools
- Easily set up dependencies
- Monthly subscriptions aren't economical
- Customer support needs work
Proggio is a great choice for businesses of all sizes to get organized and stay on top of tasks and projects. With the comprehensive Gantt chart tool, you can plan projects, assign tasks, and track progress. The whiteboard feature lets you lay out your whole project, see it as a full picture, and organize your tasks accordingly. Project templates make getting up and running faster and easier, while the customization tools ensure that you still get the look and functionality that works best for you. Finally, Proggio's Plan & Actual tool allows you to set projected timeframes and resource allocations, and still keep on track throughout the entire project.
3. Zoho Projects
- Easily create and edit dependencies
- Tracks scheduling variations
- Drag-and-drop functionality
- Some features only available with pro plan
- Free account only available for up to 10 users
Zoho Gantt charts are probably the easiest things to use anywhere. They're color-coded, they work with neat task lists, and they're the tops at keeping communication open. Zoho is also a powerful tool for analyzing critical paths, so you can stay on top of your project and deadlines. Important tasks are marked in red to grab your attention. You can also create baselines within your Gantt charts and compare changes over time to quickly see any delays and avoid missing your deadlines. What's more, Zoho allows you to easily create and edit task dependencies from directly within the chart.
- Easy setup
- Tons of excellent features
- Great free accounts
- Have to get Business Plan or higher to get the good stuff
- Learning curve for certain features
Wrike isn't a household name, but it's clients are. Huge brands like Google, Hootsuite, and L'oreal use Wrike to get and stay organized, and that's a pretty good indication of the usability and professionalism of this brand. Wrike Gantt charts simplify planning, enable collaboration, and help SMBs maximize efficiency with smart project planning. Setting up is easy, and you can learn most of the features quickly. Plus, Wrike has a generous free account that includes 25GB of storage space.
- Unlimited projects
- Highly customizable
- Clear project status and notifications
- Clock feature needs work
- Mobile app is lacking
FunctionFox is project management made simple. With tools like task and action assignment, project email alerts, and up-to-date progress reports, you'll never fall behind. FunctionFox also offers important tools like an internal communication board and file sharing. So, team members can easily update one another and share resources. The project cost and expense estimators are all added extras that make project projections easier and more accurate too.
The Easy Road to Project Management Begins Here
Gantt charts are a quick and easy way to get and stay organized no matter how many projects you're juggling. It's not reinventing the wheel, it's just teaching you how to drive the car in the most efficient, productive, and useful way possible. Choose a project management software that works for your company, and discover how productive your team can be with the help of a smart tool like the Gantt chart today.