Topics  Management systems  Performance measures  Gantt charts

Gantt charts

Scheduling systems are often used to illustrate the order in which a particular job or project should be carried out.

A Gantt chart is one system that may be used. A Gantt chart shows clearly what actions should be done first before the next step can be taken.

In the following example you can see how a Gantt chart is used for planning projects.

Image showing an example Gantt chart

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As the project progresses, the chart is updated by filling in the bars to a length proportional to the fraction of work that has been accomplished on the task. This way, one can get a quick reading of project progress by drawing a vertical line through the chart at the current date.

Completed tasks lie to the left of the line and are completely filled in. Current tasks cross the line and are behind schedule if their filled-in section is to the left of the line and ahead of schedule if the filled in section stops to the right of the line. Future tasks lie completely to the right of the line.

This particular chart is a Phased Logic Gantt chart. Its primary purpose is to schedule a specific project, from start to completion. The main project has been sub-divided into specific ‘phases’, which are each smaller projects, with a clear start and finish point. When these phases are all completed, in the sequence they are scheduled in, then the overall project itself is finished.

A clothing manufacturer could use a Gantt chart to schedule developing a new line. The chart could indicate how a garment is developed from the concept, to the design, then on to materials purchase and finally the production stages. A Phased Logic Gantt chart could be used to break down the production process into, say, the pre-production, production, and post-production processes.

In any scheduling chart such as a Gantt chart or a flowchart critical points in time in the production process are highlighted to indicate a stage when the process needs to be reviewed to ensure the project is on track.

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Gantt charts (Adobe Reader 20kb)