A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart developed by Henry Gantt in the 1910s that illustrates a project plan. Gantt diagrams illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements comprise the working structure of the project. Modern Gantt charts also show the dependency relationships between activities. Gantt charts can be used to display the current schedule status with percent full shades and a vertical “TODAY” line, as shown here.
A Gantt chart from Scrum data provides more overview than a release burndown. To do this, you extend the backlog with calendar columns, in which the sprint in which a story is edited is marked. Side effect: Management gets a roadmap and knows what the team is doing. Increases acceptance among Gantt-spoiled stakeholders.
The Gantt chart comes from classic project planning in which very detailed tasks, dependencies, deadlines, and resources are managed. If an appointment threatens to burst, the endangered task will receive more resources. This is not the view of agile development. With Scrum, the entire project is not planned in detail from the outset. It is only planned, which is also implemented.
Teams and not resources take on tasks. Rather, the scope is reduced or postponed, as resources (which are people) are moving around. With the classical detail planning one can say exactly how a project will run, at least how it should run. The truth turns out afterward and she is always different than planned. In other words, accurate project planning only leads to being wrong. One reason why classic project planning in the agile environment is frowned upon. As a result, the Gantt chart, as an overview of the classic project plan, has been discredited.
Why should we use a Gantt chart?
It did not deserve that. At Scrum, too, stakeholders want to know when something will be done. Scrum wants to avoid the exact statement about it. But nevertheless, the desire for concrete statements remains. The interest of management and customers in project progress is justified and can be satisfied with a Gantt style roadmap. Last but not least, a roadmap-like overview also helps the convinced Scrum advocate to control scopes and appointments on time.
Surprisingly, the Scrum standard has everything ready to create a Gantt chart. A Gantt chart that meets all the requirements of Gantt Chart pampered stakeholders. The generation of the Gantt chart can be automated. It costs nothing in the Scrum process. The result is no more accurate than the well-known Gantt charts of classic project planning. But it serves transparency. It fulfills an important role in Scrum. At the same time, the Gantt chart promotes the acceptance of Scrum by key stakeholders (management). So here’s a Gantt chart as a reporting tool, not a planning tool. The planning is completely Scrum.
Creating a Gantt chart from Scrum data is very easy. Every estimated Scrum User Story as Story Points. The story points are created as usual in the scrum process. From previous sprints, the velocity (story points per sprint) is known. The previous velocity will also be accepted for the future. You can also use Google Docs Gantt Chart templates for creating these charts.
What are the components of a Gantt chart?
A Gantt chart typically consists of the following elements:
- Dates: the start and end dates indicate at a glance when the entire project starts and ends.
- Tasks: Projects consist of a series of subtasks. With a Gantt chart, they can be kept track of, so that no activity is forgotten or in arrears.
- Estimated time frame: the diagram shows when each task should be executed. This ensures that each subtask is completed on schedule and that the entire project can be completed on schedule.
- Dependencies: some tasks can be executed at any point in time, while others must be done before starting or after the end of another task. These dependencies are made clear in a Gantt chart.
- Progress: The diagram clearly shows how your project is developing and what tasks have already been completed. The current date will also be displayed so you can see what’s left to do and whether you can complete the project in a timely manner.
Most of the Gantt Chart templates in Google Docs have these components.
How do you create a Gantt chart yourself?
Here are the steps to create your first Gantt chart:
- List all tasks.
- List the dependencies between the tasks.
- Set a time frame for the project.
- Assign tasks to team members.
Write down all the tasks required to successfully complete the project. Also, take note of deadlines and responsible team members.
For example, if you want to redesign a website, there’s a lot of work in creating a bunch of mockups in Photoshop.
This activity can, in turn, be divided into several subtasks, eg. B .:
- Create wireframes
- Check usability of wireframes
- Create mockups to the best wireframes
- Create a prototype of a mockup
- Perform usability tests
- Check the best prototype and release it for development
The same applies to other projects, such as the renovation of a house. Again, this project could be divided into different tasks, such. B .:
- Order materials
- Send interim billing
- Lay floors
- Paint walls
- Charge working hours
You can edit or download any Google Docs Gantt Chart templates for a quick editing.
Gantt charts in practice
Wondering how you can use Gantt charts for your business? In the following examples, we describe how agencies and construction companies use this tool optimally in project management.
Gantt charts for agencies
Although there is a huge difference between Creative Industries and IT organizations, they share common ground in some important aspects of project management:
- Both need to take into account the (sometimes rapidly changing) wishes of many stakeholders.
- In order to meet the expectations of all stakeholders, projects are often delayed and the budget needs to be increased.
- There are both tasks that can be performed simultaneously, as well as tasks that must be completed first before the next can be started.
Create a detailed timeline to help you drive customer expectations right from the start. Involve all team members in the build process and refresh the timeline whenever a meeting or task shifts.
For example, if you’re developing a Web site, you’re probably following a proven workflow, such as the following:
- Develop wireframe for the user interface
- Create a mockup in Photoshop
- Develop a website
- Test website
In this process, some tasks are linked together. This is how designers need to create the wireframes before developers can start working on the site. This, in turn, can only be tested if a first version is available.
There is a high probability that steps must be repeated before a final result is obtained. Your designers may need to make different mockups before the customer is completely satisfied. All these tasks can be tracked with a Gantt chart.
One area where Gantt charts are commonly used is the construction industry. Construction projects present organizers with particular challenges because the individual tasks are strongly interwoven. For example, it is not possible to start work on the ceiling until the supports have been installed. And the bathroom floor can only be laid after the ceiling has been completed.
At the same time, the working hours in a construction project are relatively scalable. For example, a bricklayer can lay more or less the same number of bricks in one day.
Because labor hours are scalable, a Gantt chart helps determine the projected project duration.
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