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Blog Article

5 Examples of Using Gantt Charts    

February 26, 2024 | 5 min

Project and Portfolio Management

Gantt Charts have become the standard for project visualization in project management. In many contexts, the representation of project objects as bars is an indispensable tool for visualizing complex schedules, processes, and milestones, and thus forms the basis for effective collaboration. Gantt Charts are used in almost all projects, regardless of their scope, organizational area, or industry. It is only in software development, where agile methods such as Scrum are commonly used, that Gantt Charts are rarely used.

In this blog post, we first define the term Gantt Chart and present examples of its use in project management. We will also demonstrate the flexibility and versatility of this visual project management tool that can help you successfully plan, structure, and execute complex projects.

Definition: What is a Gantt Chart?

A Gantt Chart is a visual representation of a project that shows the chronological sequence of tasks and work processes, including dependencies and hierarchical relationships. The length of each bar reflects its duration. The bars in the Gantt Chart therefore generally represent a task or several (sub)tasks that are to be completed within a defined time frame. Since the bars are arranged on a time axis, a start and end date are defined for each of these objects. Therefore, the length of a bar does not indicate the importance of the task, but only its planned duration.  

This type of visualization can be used in project management to display complex projects, including their relationships and dependencies. The Gantt Chart provides a simple overview of the project: everyone can see which tasks are to be completed by when. It is a good idea to assign each task and activity to the department or person responsible for completing it. When resource planning is integrated into the Gantt Chart, it answers one of the most important questions in project management: “Who does what and when?” This type of project planning as a Gantt Chart contributes significantly to the effectiveness of the organisation. 

How Do You Create a Gantt Chart?

The easiest way to create a Gantt Chart is to use specialized software that can also show dependencies between tasks. The first step is to define the Gantt Chart that represents the entire project. The beginning and end of the project automatically create the framework for all hierarchically subordinate bars, such as project phases and tasks. Dependencies can then be created between the individual project objects to ensure the correct project flow. Depending on the level of complexity, activities are then assigned to each phase or task, along with the people, teams, or departments required to complete them. The project manager can then use the Gantt Chart to easily monitor the project and its progress. 

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Use of Gantt Charts in Project Management

As explained above, Gantt Charts are also used for complex projects. Large projects can be divided into several sub-projects or project phases and clearly visualized using a Gantt Chart. In practice, it is common for different departments and often different companies to work together on a project. It is not uncommon for them to implement entire sub-sections independently and then make them available to the overall project. This type of collaborative project management is more the rule than the exception and requires specific features from the project management software. For example, milestones can be used to check whether certain progress has been made and whether processes have been implemented as planned.  

The Gantt Chart makes it easier to coordinate and increase the effectiveness of the project by providing a clearly laid out overview of all tasks and timelines. 

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Examples, Structure & Content of Gantt Charts in Software Development

Software development projects are typically implemented using agile methods such as Scrum and are therefore rarely represented in Gantt Charts. The problem arises when the development or modification of software or an application is part of a larger project and cannot be mapped to the original project plan. The fact that software development is managed in a separate tool creates a dangerous blind spot for project management. Therefore, it has proven useful to create a link between the two planning tools. A proven example of this is the Jira Connector from cplace, which automatically integrates the relevant information from agile planning in Jira into the Gantt Chart created in cplace, also visually. 

The Waterfall Model, in which all steps take place one after the other, build on each other and are interdependent, is only rarely found in the context of software development.

Examples, Structure & Content of Gantt Charts for Product Management/Roadmapping

While the project manager implements a one-time project, the product manager is responsible for the long-term development of a product. Therefore, product management uses project plans for each step of product development. However, the product itself is monitored in a Product Roadmap. This is a subset of the Gantt Chart. It provides an overview of product development with individual development steps and associated milestones. The roadmap provides a general overview but does not contain detailed task planning. In addition to product roadmaps, roadmaps are also used to visualize the implementation of corporate strategy or technology development.

Examples, Structure & Content of Gantt Charts for Marketing 

Gantt Charts are also increasingly used in marketing, especially for large multi-channel campaigns that require extensive collaboration and coordination. The Gantt Chart can be used to map campaign activities over time, showing all responsibilities and the duration of each process. This gives the team a complete overview and team members can see how their work fits into the overall context of the campaign.  

Especially for large campaigns, it is important that there are clear start and end dates and that they are followed. The Gantt Chart can be used to visualize this data. Another advantage is that Gantt Charts are flexible, which is helpful when there are spontaneous changes before or during a campaign. 

Examples, Structure & Content of Gantt Chart with Milestones

Many Gantt Charts use the waterfall method, in which tasks are completed sequentially and there are dependencies between tasks. The special feature of Gantt Charts with milestones is that there is a milestone after each project phase. At this milestone, a committee, or the customer checks whether the project progress to date meets the requirements and whether the project can continue as planned. For example, payments to project service providers are often linked to the achievement of milestones.

Creating a Gantt Chart in Excel vs. Gantt Chart Software

The examples given so far refer to charts created with specialized Gantt Chart software. In principle, it is possible to display Gantt Charts with Excel. However, the larger the project and the more details you want to plan, such as resources, the faster Excel will reach its limits: creating Gantt Charts in Excel quickly becomes confusing, tedious, and difficult to read. Excel is not a project planning tool. 

Summary

Gantt Charts are a powerful tool for visualizing projects. They help ensure a clear schedule and effective coordination within the team. Their clear structure also makes it easier to coordinate processes and set milestones. With the help of appropriate software, it is possible to create a wide variety of Gantt Charts in a short time. With the cplace software platform you can integrate real-time data into your project planning. The Gantt-Timebox makes it possible to connect the project, process, and product worlds. In addition, cplace supports all common project management methods – whether classic, hybrid or agile.

About the Author

Christian Schneider, Content Marketing, cplace

With its Next-Generation Project and Portfolio Management technology, cplace is revolutionizing and transforming the way people and organizations collaborate on complex projects. The flexible software platform enables leading companies to create customized solutions for digital transformation and developing complex products.

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Christian Schneider

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