A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of the duration of tasks against the progression of time. A Gantt chart is a useful tool for planning and scheduling projects.

A Gantt chart is helpful when monitoring a project’s progress. A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project.

Terminal elements and summary elements comprise the work breakdown structure of the project.  Some Gantt charts also show the dependency relationships between activities.

Gantt charts can be used to show current schedule status using percent-complete shadings and a vertical “Today” line.

Planning and Scheduling

Use a Gantt chart to plan how long a project should take.  A Gantt chart lays out the order in which the tasks need to be carried out.

Early Gantt charts did not show dependencies between tasks but modern Gantt chart software provides this capability.

Henry Laurence Gantt, an American mechanical engineer, is credited with the invention of the Gantt chart.

Monitoring a Project

A Gantt chart lets you see immediately what should have been achieved at any point in time.

A Gantt chart lets you see how remedial action may bring the project back on course. Most Gantt charts include “milestones” which are not part of a traditional Gantt Chart.

However, for representing deadlines and other significant events, it is very useful to include this feature on a Gantt chart.

Read about the Evolution of the Gantt chart

For help on how to create your own gantt chart, read our article about Creating a Gantt Chart