Creating and Using a Gannt Chart

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 and the dependency relationships between activities. Gantt charts can be used to show current schedule

status using percent-complete shadings and a vertical “TODAY” line. The first known Gantt chart was developed in 1896 by Karol Adamiecki, who called it a harmonogram. Adamiecki did not publish his chart until

1931, however, and then only in Polish. The chart is commonly known after Henry Gantt (1861–1919), who designed his chart sometime

between 1910 and 1915.

Although now regarded as a common charting technique, Gantt charts were considered revolutionary when they were introduced. In recognition of Henry Gantt’s contributions, the Henry Laurence Gantt prize is awarded for distinguished achievement in management and in community service. This chart is used also in Information Technology to represent data that has been collected. (first three paragraphs appear in Wikipedia Gantt chart entry, citing these three sources:

H.L. Gantt, Work, Wages and Profit, published by The Engineering Magazine, New York, 1910; republished as Work, Wages and

Profits, Easton, Pennsylvania, Hive Publishing Company, 1974, ISBN 0879600489.

Blokdijk, Gerard (2007). Project Management 100 Success Secrets. Lulu.com. p. 76. ISBN HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/0980459907” 0980459907. http://books.google.com/books?id=dgB- QWHlnrUC&pg=PA76&dq=Adamiecki+Gantt&as_brr=3&sig=Jp- mgVODNRJpxqBRM1PYJbs7mOU.

Peter W. G. Morris, The Management of Projects, Thomas Telford, 1994, ISBN 0727725939, Google Print, p.18)

There are two easy ways to create a Gantt chart to incorporate in the status report for a project in this class: (1) use free software, or (2) create a

table in MS Word or Corel WordPerfect.

CREATING A GANTT CHART USING FREE SOFTWARE: One free Gantt chart creator can be found on http://www.ganttproject.biz/ and an example of its output appears below:

This chart depicts milestones in completing “The Johnson Genealogy Project.” The goal of the project is “to provide a written history and genealogy

of the Johnson family from 1730 to the present for sale and distribution to family and historical organizations.”

 Birth, death, marriage, and issue information must be from official sources or verified by at least one other source to be considered “firm” rather than “tentative.”

 Generation stories must be documented by notation as to WHO said WHAT about an ancestor, WHEN it was said, and HOW it was known. “Traditional” stories may be used if labeled as such, but every effort must be made to identify the SOURCE of the story.

 Only events and activities actually affecting a particular generation should be developed for the book. For example, the flu epidemic of

1917 impacted most Americans—did any Johnson contractor die from the flu?

 Identification of subjects of photographs, portraits, and related graphic items must be documented. The time period and circumstances surrounding the picture should be described wherever possible.

Note that the entire project is addressed in this depiction – not merely the collection, processing, and verification of the information involved. Note also that the actual Gantt chart for a complex project would have many more elements and the resulting interdependences would also be included. This depiction of a project leads to a NETWORK DIAGRAM, also called a PERT CHART (Program Evaluation Review Technique) or CRITICAL PATH chart. All of these techniques are used in Project Management, together with Lean Manufacturing concepts, including Six Sigma. If you are writing for managers using any of these applications, you should become thoroughly familiar with them.

To insert a Gantt chart from this program into your text file, export the completed chart as a JPG file and paste it in as a picture.

CREATING A GANTT CHART USING TABLE TOOLS:

You can create a simple Gantt chart by creating a table in MS Word or Corel WordPerfect. Because this involves creating a cell for each unit of time, we will reduce the detail to weeks and create a 13 by 9 cell table (which is NOT as precise as the Gantt Project software, but will do for your proposal to produce a researched proposal for a company or community).

Now we will adjust the cell width and fill in the X and Y axes information:

Johnson Family Book Dec Jan Feb

Week 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2

Research Family

Get Pictures

Anecdotes

Verify

Draft

Review

Publish

Finally, we can adjust lines, color cells to distinguish different activities and their specific durations, and remove the lines between the cells that are

colored to represent the activities (using the “merge cells” command). Here is the finished product:

OHNSON AMILY OOK Dec

Jan

Feb

Week 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2

Research Family

Get Pictures

Anecdotes

Verify

Draft

Review

Publish

Note that the activities that take less time than the time period selected (in this example, one week) lose their accuracy in this scale (note the Review

and Publish time lines); however, using a cell to represent a day would create a 76-cell width which, if reduced, would result in a Gantt chart that

would be too small to read. The number of steps required to explain the sequence and relationship of tasks you will need to complete to turn in your researched proposal on time are small and the time can be expressed accurately enough in whole weeks, so the table version is adequate as a planning effort for this

assignment. The Gantt Chart is a very useful planning and status checking tool that can keep a manager on track in completing a complex project on time. A good Gantt Chart (one that includes all of the key steps needed to complete a project) can avert disaster as you complete a complex project bounded by non-negotiable time constraints (such as a paper due on a specific day).

PERT CHARTS A PERT chart is a project management tool used to schedule, organize, and coordinate tasks within a project. PERT stands for Program Evaluation

Review Technique, a methodology developed by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s to manage the Polaris submarine missile program. A similar

methodology, the Critical Path Method (CPM) was developed for project management in the private sector at about the same time.

A PERT chart presents a graphic illustration of a project as a network diagram consisting of numbered nodes (either circles or rectangles) representing

events, or milestones in the project linked by labeled vectors (directional lines) representing tasks in the project. The direction of the arrows on the lines

indicates the sequence of tasks. In the diagram, for example, the tasks between nodes 1, 2, 4, 8, and 10 must be completed in sequence. These are

called dependent or serial tasks. The tasks between nodes 1 and 2, and nodes 1 and 3 are not dependent on the completion of one to start the other

and can be undertaken simultaneously. These tasks are called parallel or concurrent tasks. Tasks that must be completed in sequence but that don’t

require resources or completion time are considered to have event dependency. These are represented by dotted lines

with arrows and are called dummy activities. For example, the dashed arrow linking nodes 6 and 9 indicates that the system files must be

converted before the user test can take place, but that the resources and time required to prepare for the user test (writing the user manual and

user training) are on another path. Numbers on the opposite sides of the vectors indicate the time allotted for the task.

The PERT chart is sometimes preferred over the Gantt Chart, another popular project management charting method, because it clearly illustrates task dependencies. On the other hand, the PERT chart can be much more difficult to interpret, especially on complex projects. Frequently,

project managers use both techniques. ( http://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/definition/PERT-chart)

APPLICATION EXAMPLE: At the CIA, Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) compliance verification required analysis of overhead photography to discover any alteration to Soviet missile silos (nuclear warheads were larger, requiring visible construction modifications). Discrepancies spotted then required a check of millions of photographs by six analysts requiring at least 72 hours (432 analyst hours). I developed a PERT program that allowed one analyst to recover critical stage photos in less than two hours. This chart depicted visible stages in the construction process, the time required for each stage, with other factors including weather and holiday stand-downs. One analyst could search backwards from the date of the photo depicting the current stage of modifications to the silo by searching only the dozen or so photos from the most likely date for the preceding identifiable stage. While it could be argued by the Soviets that a single photo did not represent a violation; an aggregate of photos showing the stages of modifying the silo could not be contested.