A GANTT chart is a type of bar chart that shows a graphical representation of the project schedule. It can show information about the project such as tasks, start and completion dates, activity precedence, owners of activities, the status of each action item, and help the team identify the current status of the project versus its baseline. A GANTT chart can identify the critical path so that the team can focus on those activities to help deliver the project on time. A GANTT chart is one of the integral reports generated by the project manager to not only keep the project on track but also to quickly share the project status with other stakeholders.
This tool can be added to your active workbook by clicking on Project and then selecting Project Plans > GANTT Chart.
Click on Analysis Setup to open the menu options for this tool.
A sample screenshot of the setup menu is shown below.
Scheduling Method: Specify the method that you would like to use to schedule the project dates. The available methods are:
For Auto scheduling, the software will determine the start and end dates for each activity based on the duration you enter for each activity and the
project start date.
For Manual scheduling, you will need to provide the start and end dates for each activity yourself. The software will estimate the
duration of each activity based on the dates you enter.
Date Format: Specify the format in which dates are entered for this analysis. This actually depends on the format the users are comfortable with and can change from region to region. The following options are available:
Here we have the date followed by month and then year. The separator between these fields could be either period (.), dash (-), or slash (/).
Here we have the month followed by date and then year. The separator between these fields could be either period (.), dash (-), or slash (/).
Here we have the year followed by month and then date. The separator between these fields could be either period (.), dash (-), or slash (/).
Completion Status: Specify if you would like to show completion status of the activities on the GANTT chart. If you show the completion status, then the percentage completion is displayed on the GANTT chart. This information is obtained from the data you enter in the worksheet in the Status column.
Show Links: Specify if you want to show the links between the different activities. The links between activities is specified on the worksheet using the Predecessor column. If no predecessors are specified, there will not be any links to display between the activities.
Bar Colors: Specify how you want to color the bars in the GANTT chart. You have several options to show the colors, but you can only choose one option at a time for the colors. If you want different views, you can create multiple GANTT charts and view the different colors. The options for the colors are:
All items which are on a critical path are shown in one color. If you choose based on critical path, then any activity that lies on the critical path is displayed in red color, other activities are shown in grey color.
All items that belong to the same phase are shown in the same color. If you choose to color based on phase, then the activity number
is used to determine the color. All activities that have the same top level WBS number will have the same color. For example, if there are three
activities 1.1, 1.2, 2.1. Then the first two activities have the same top level WBS of 1, the third has a top level WBS of 2. So, the first two
activities will have the same color.
All items that belong to the same resource are shown in the same color.
All items that belong to the same status are shown in the same color. Any activity that is behind is shown in red, in-process activities are shown in yellow, and completed activities are shown in green.
Show the resource names next to the bars.
Click on this button to open the example file. You can view the example to get an idea of how to fill out this tool or you can use the example as a starting point and modify it to meet your project needs.
Help Button: Click on this button to view the help file for this topic.
Cancel Button: Click on this button to cancel your changes and exit this dialog box.
OK Button: Click on this button to save all changes and compute the outputs for this analysis.
A sample screenshot of the display menu is shown below.
Major Unit: Specify the time-scale for plotting the GANTT chart. For this section you need to specify the major units and minor units of the chart. Pick the appropriate scale so that you can clearly view the project timeline on the GANTT chart. You can pick the major units as Years, Quarters, Months or Weeks.
Minor Unit: The major units are further subdivided into minor units and you can pick the minor units as Quarters, Months, Weeks, or Days. etc.
Display Start: Specify the start date for your GANTT chart view. Any data before this date will be hidden and not displayed on the GANTT chart.
Display End: Specify the end date for your GANTT chart view. Any data after this date will be hidden and not displayed on the GANTT chart.
Project Start: Specify the start date for "Auto" scheduling. This date will be used to automatically determine the rest of the dates based on the data you enter on the worksheet. Note that the software uses the standard "As Soon As Possible" approach to determine the project dates. The other option to schedule is to plan activities "As Late As Possible" but this is not a recommended option since things start to slip if you plan to do the activities in the last minute (Murphy's law in action).
Specify the number of tasks in your process. This information is used to reformat your worksheet and create a table for data entry. Note that any data below this table will be cleared.
A sample screenshot of the calendar menu is shown below.
Working Days: Specify the working days for the company. This information will be used to create the auto schedule.
Holidays: Specify any holidays here separated by semi-colon. All these dates will be skipped during auto scheduling.
Calendar: Apply a specific calendar to the plan. This is not currently implemented.
Days/Year: This factor is used to convert between year and days. So, if you specify duration as 1Y, then this factor will be used to determine the number of days for this activity.
Days/Quarter: This factor is used to convert between quarter and days. So, if you specify duration as 1Q, then this factor will be used to determine the number of days for this activity.
Days/Month: This factor is used to convert between month and days. So, if you specify duration as 1m, then this factor will be used to determine the number of days for this activity.
Days/Week: This factor is used to convert between week and days. So, if you specify duration as 1w, then this factor will be used to determine the number of days for this activity.
Days/Hour: This factor is used to convert between hour and days. So, if you specify duration as 8h, then this factor will be used to determine the number of days for this activity.
Enter the following information on the worksheet:
In the first column, enter the WBS structure of each activity. For example, the first activity could be 1, its sub-activities could be 1.1, 1.2, etc.
Next, specify the type of activity. If you leave it blank or select "A", then the activity is shown as a bar. If you choose "M", then that activity is shown as a milestone and is represented by a diamond on the GANTT chart.
Provide a brief description of the activity in the Task column.
If you specify "Auto" scheduling in options, specify the duration for each activity. If you specify "Manual" scheduling, then specify the start and end dates for each activity. When specifying the duration, you can enter an integer (say 14). It will refer to 14 days. This is the minimum unit in this software, you cannot use this package to plan for hours or minutes! If you want to specify the duration as 2 weeks, you can enter 2w as the duration. Similarly, you can specify 1y (for 1 year), 10h (for
10 hours - will be converted to days based on an 8-hour workday), 3m (for months), 1q (for a quarter), etc. When you enter dates in the software always ensure that you enter the dates in mm/dd/yyyy format.
Specify the predecessors for each activity. You can enter the numbers from the first column as the predecessors. You can enter multiple predecessors separated by a semi-colon. You can also introduce lags by adding say 10d to the predecessor. For example, if you specify the predecessor as 1 + 15w, then the start date for this activity will be the end date of activity 1 with a positive lag of 15 weeks. You can introduce both lags and leads in the predecessor column. For example, if you specify the predecessor as 3;4 -7d. Then the system will look up the end dates for activities 3 and 4, look at the last completion date, and then schedule the current activity 7 days before that date.
Specify the person responsible for that activity in the Owner column.
Finally, you can select the information about activity status. You can pick the following options: Cancelled, an activity not started, activity has started, the status of the activity completion (25%, 50%, 75%), or completed. Note that we have only provided limited options for activity completion to ensure focus on project end dates. The date for completion of the activity is more important than the % completion status (which is only a rough indication of activity completion).
If you click on the Verify button, the software will perform some checks on the data you have entered. A sample screenshot of the dialog box is shown in the figure below.
The objective of this analysis as well as any checks that are performed is listed in this dialog box. For example, the software may check if you have correctly specified the input options and entered the required data on the worksheet. The results of the analysis checks are listed on the right. If the checks are passed, then they are shown as a green-colored checkmark. If the verification checks fail, then they are shown as a red-colored cross. If the verification checks result in a warning, they are shown in the orange color exclamation mark and finally, any checks that are required to be performed by the user are shown as blue info icons.
Click on Compute Outputs to update the output calculations. A sample screenshot of the worksheet is shown below. If any errors are encountered during the analysis, they are reported at this point. The overall percentage completion status of the project is displayed at the top. Following are some possible errors that you may encounter:
Dates are missing or have not been entered in the right format.
Predecessors have been entered incorrectly.
Predecessors are entered in such a way that it forms a loop and the system cannot determine the "Auto" scheduled dates.
The only output from this analysis is the % completion status shown at the top. The main output of this analysis is the developed GANTT chart.
Here are a few pointers regarding this analysis:
If you encounter an error during the generation of the GANTT chart, ensure that you have provided the right inputs then try again.
Make sure to enter the dates in the right format. The system will read the dates based on the format you specify and not based on the settings you may have on your computer (through system dates). Internal analysis is done using system dates but external input & output will be based on
the format you specify on the input dialog box.
If the output of the GANTT chart is too narrow or too wide, you can select the range of interest and adjust the column width to adjust the width as you would like it. Currently, this has to be done manually.
You must stick to this format for all dates you enter in the analysis. For example, if you specify the date format as "dd-mm-yyyy" then you need to enter the dates in the dialog box and any inputs on the worksheet exactly in this format. The system cannot always check if you have entered the dates correctly, however, if it encounters a date that does not make sense then it will report an error. You will need to fix these dates before you can continue with the analysis.
Following examples can be found in the Examples folder.
Create a GANTT chart for the data given in the attached file (GANTT 1.xlsms).