Free Gantt Chart Templates (Excel / Word / PowerPoint)

By April 15, 2022Business

A Gantt chart template is an important tool used in project management to know about the overlap of processes. With the template, you can see the status of any project quickly and see how far along it is. This chart enables you to manage processes that is based on the completion of other processes. Furthermore, project managers use the Gantt charts to quickly provide estimates regarding how long the project will take to complete.

Where should be Gantt charts used?

Gantt charts can be used while planning any projects for which you will require time estimations. Time estimations are an important part of Gantt chart. You first know accurately how much time each process in the overall project will take then you can make a true Gantt chart. You can also easily provide time estimation for small tasks. When you have done with the time estimations of all the projects, you can simply make the chart depending of their beginning and ending dates and you will be done.

At the end of 19th century, Gantt charts were first created. But, during World War 1, they were popularized. During 1910-1915, the Gantt brought into the English speaking world by Henry Gantt, the man who the chart is named after. The military forces of United States of America during World War 1 were widely used Gantt charts. In addition to this, for the military, Gantt charts would be an extremely useful tool. This is because military operations have various different processes and all are based on each other one way or the other.

For many students and people new to the job, Gantt Charts are a problem as making them is not simple. You can just download a Gantt chart template to quickly generate them. However, making them from scratches needs a proper understanding of various different rules of software such as MS Excel. Setting up the chart to show the bars according to time is the part that becomes problematic for most people.

Important parts of a Gantt chart:

You have to include the following information in a Gantt chart;

Activities

This is the first thing that you have to take care of. To make a Gantt chart successful, you have to indicate each and every activity of the project. Never forget to put in some activities otherwise the outcomes can be catastrophic for project completion. As a result, you can find out that your time estimate is completely unrealistic or you can’t complete the project at all. This is because you missed an activity upon which other activities were dependent. You have to make sure that you have listed each and every activity that will be involved. Organization have planning departments for big projects that form cross departmental team in order to make sure that all the activities have been accounted for.

Time estimates

You can’t make a chart without time estimates. A Gantt chart’s whole point is to indicate which activities will overlap and when dependent activities will begin. Without time estimates, this can’t be done. You can use different approaches to time estimates. For a small project, if you are creating a Gantt chart then you can estimate how long each task will take and just write it down. For bigger projects, a more realistic approach is required. Generally, there are three types of time estimates;

  1. Optimal time estimates
  2. Normal time estimates
  3. Pessimistic time estimates

Predecessors

You should accurately study the predecessors. Basically, it is an activity upon which another activity is based. An effective Gantt chart clearly defines predecessors in the chart.

Things to avoid while making Gantt charts:

With time estimates, being too optimistic

New managers inadvertently end up by making this common mistake. Experienced project managers know that things have ability to go in an inaccurate way. You shouldn’t be assuming that every process will go off without a hitch when you’re in a big project involving hundreds of processes. Mangers generally inflate the time estimates in order to ensure their estimates are wrong. They’ll provide an estimate of three months in case they think a project should be doable in two months. This way, if something goes wrong, then by making the project late, it can be covered.

Complicating the chart too much

Don’t insert too much information in the chart. Some people want to cover everything and as a result they end up entering so many activities and dependencies in the Gantt chart. Thus, it becomes incomprehensible. The main purpose of Gantt chart is to describe how long processes will take, the relationships among processes, and effective time estimations.

You should make multiple charts instead of inserting too many information in single chart. At first, divide the activities department-wise and then place them in different charts.

Keep the chart static

A Gantt chart, at a quick glance, should provide a basic understanding about the progress of the project. In some cases, your best estimations will become too conservative. The chart should indicate the processes that should have or haven’t be completed. With updates time estimates, you have to make sure that you keep updating the Gantt chart. This way, it becomes a useful tool for you and your teammates.

Lack of color coding

You have to start your color coding activities if your chart is becoming too complicated. Color activities is a great way to do this on the basis of the teams that will be working on them. If you try to give each activity its own color, you will run out of colors very quickly. Instead of this, you have just enhanced the amount of information that your chart presents in case you color the graph on the basis of who will be performing the activities.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, a Gantt chart is an extremely useful tool that tells you a lot about the project. With the help of chart, you can quickly estimate how long the project will take to complete.