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Factors to Consider While making Gantt Chart

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Posts: 58
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I currently work in the industry but I’ve had little experience creating and managing Gantt charts. One issue that I face EVERY TIME I make a chart is adding too much detail. Because I know so much about the process and what can cause time delays, sometimes I add too much detail. I understand that the tool should be dynamic and quick and easy to update but I have yet to find the balance. I usually drive my own Design changes so the few times I created my own Gantt Chart, updating it always feels like a chore more than a helpful tool.

Posted : 05/11/2017 11:38 am
Posts: 36
Eminent Member

Based on my experiences working within relatively big medical device project teams the two biggest things that I think are very important with regards to creating /managing gantt charts are the “critical path” and amount of “slack”. Whoever the project manager is for a project, aside from making sure that all milestones are being achieved the next thing that are going to be worried about is the critical path. The critical path refers to the path of tasks or action items within the project timeline (gantt chart), that if anyone of those tasks or action items gets delayed it delays the overall timeline of the project completion. All project managers will always want to make sure that the all items related to the critical path remain on track, and if you happen to working on one of those items for a company I am sure you will be providing a lot of status updates. The other concept related to gantt charts and project management is slack, which refers to the tasks within the project timeline that if they do get delayed do not affect the overall completion of the project timeline. It is important to know which tasks within a gantt chart are on either the critical path or have slack to be successful and efficient when creating and managing project timelines (gantt charts).

Posted : 05/11/2017 1:33 pm
Posts: 82
Trusted Member

From my experiences determining the duration of each task is highly important. Through past projects within industry, I have found that project managers are sometimes over optimistic about how long a task takes. Finally, when that task exceeds the amount of allotted days, there is debate about why this happens or why it happened. I always highly suggest considering adding 1-2 buffer days in case some roadblock comes up that prevents you from completing the task within the amount of days allotted. Sure, it extends the timeline but at least it provides a more realistic expectation on when something will get completed in addition to the possibility of being ahead of the timeline.

Posted : 05/11/2017 4:53 pm
Posts: 85
Trusted Member

A Gantt chart gives a detailed schedule in order to complete a project successfully. A major factor in the Gantt chart is the critical path. The critical path ensures that specific steps of the project were completed on time in order the next task to be done. If one task was missed, then the project would fall behind and not go as planned. The chart allows for each miniscule to major task to be scheduled and see how each affects the other. With Gantt charts, it ensures that a project within a good amount of time. I have worked with Gantt charts for Capstone and feel they are really helpful in making sure that each task is done on time. When one task is delayed, there causes more issues and the whole project gets delayed.

Posted : 05/11/2017 6:09 pm
Posts: 33
Eminent Member

Again, I don't have any experience on making gantt chart for a company, but I have made gantt chart for my capstone class. I think the first thing to do is the set up the start date and the end date of the project. After that, you should find out what the critical tasks are. When making the gantt chart, give as much time as possible for each tasks, and then adjust the time based on what you think you can finish the tasks by. Also have extra time available at the end, so that if you don't finish the project by the due date, you still have some time to do the task.

Posted : 05/11/2017 6:13 pm
Posts: 61
Trusted Member

Gantt charts provide two critical functions: timing and dependence. The overall view of the Gantt chart allows all the tasks and deadlines of a project to be looked at. These timelines can be further detailed with macro and micro tasks. The second function of the Gantt chart is to outline the dependance of a specific task relative to another. This allows for a linear view of timelines, but shows where paths intersect and where critical tasks are and how they affect events further downstream. As has been mentioned before, this allows for an outlining of a critical path. The critical path shows the direct line to the completion of a project, while highlighting aspects of the project that are dependent on tasks further upstream. This gives managers and overseers insight into which phases need to be expedited and which have flexibility.

Posted : 05/11/2017 6:18 pm
Posts: 69
Trusted Member

Gantt charts are very important to the project because it highlights the milestones for the project. The critical path is crucial because it ensures the project is running on time and there will be no issues when moving onto the next milestone. The critical path makes sure there will be no deviations. When deadlines are missed, it sets the project back but the team must find a way to make up for the missed milestone. But when the project manager is first creating the Gantt chart, he/she must make sure there is enough time to finish the task within a certain time frame. When given not enough time, it causes the milestones to be missed or the project members to work overtime. The project manager should always leave about 2-3 days buffer for each milestone to ensure it being reached.

Posted : 10/11/2017 7:19 pm
Posts: 71
Trusted Member

I am currently Senior at NJIT taking my Capstone class, which is our senior design class. The purpose of this class is to simulate real-world medical device processes to produce a product. Our professor look at our Gantt chart to assess our progress and observe whether or not our milestones have been reached. The reason why I like the implementation of the Gantt chart is that we get to choose our pace and what aspects of the project are our milestones that show real progress. We have a start and end date but everything in between that period we are responsible for a reasonable schedule. Having this chart ensures we do not fall behind. If the chart is effectively used with sufficient predicting of problems then I will help guide a team to the deadline. The other great part about using the Gantt chart is if a milestone is missed or if a team falls behind, the whole process can be seen with a meta perspective which can help edit timelines and help the team get back on track. Using a Gantt chart is an integral part of product development and the analysis fo the timeline is a great asset to a team.

Posted : 11/11/2017 8:57 am
Posts: 74
Trusted Member

Working in industry I've had the chance to utilize gaant charts to structure a project which is focused around transitioning our documents to the latest ISO 13485:2016 standard before audits this month. By doing so, I had to make sure that each member of the team had actions relevant to their area of expertise as well as keep them accountable and aware of the action(s) they had. I also held meetings with the team to discuss progress and schedule of the gaant chart. Luckily we are ahead of schedule and have not required additional resources. One thing to keep in mind is that when creating a gaant chart for a project, definitely schedule times to meet with the team to go over the chart on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to cover any mishaps and ensure that schedule is kept and resources met.

Posted : 11/11/2017 10:51 am
Posts: 43
Eminent Member

bunch of tips and how-to tricks from several experienced project managers.
Start date, end date, duration: Track it all
The best way to track an ongoing project is using a Gantt chart. One important advantage of these charts is that the project plan remains on one page. All team members can easily track the progress of each task. The chart shows:
When each task starts
When each task ends
How long every single task will last
Tracking project deadlines is crucial. Moreover, a special task progress bar will show you performance rates in percentages. This will make it easier to calculate whether you will be able to meet the deadlines or not.
On the other hand, from an employee perspective, a Gantt chart is a perfect way to, let’s say, escape reporting (most employees hate reporting). The chart itself will do the work for you. Hence, employees will get freed from long task descriptions, excessive paperwork and/or excel sheets illustrating the work done.
task colors in gantt charts
The color trick
Task colors in Gantt charts make the tasks easily understandable for all the employees. Your selection of colors may be based on research in Color Psychology. As means of nonverbal communication, colors do possess certain meanings. Following are the most common meanings of different colors that can be used in a Gantt chart:
Orange is the color of optimism and social interaction (tasks that involve social communication may be marked with this color)
Blue is the color of peace and loyalty (tasks that are close to completion can be marked with this color)
Green is the color of harmony (tasks that have been completed successfully can be marked with this color)
Black is the color of the unknown and the mystery (tasks that need further clarification can be marked with this color)
Red is the color of passion and action (urgent or problematic tasks may be marked with this color)
The aforementioned example of color meanings is just an example. You can pick up other color meanings based on other sources (for example, the traffic lights with red, yellow and green colors). The idea here is to establish a system of color meanings recognizable by all team players.
Some tips to help your team members easily identify related tasks:
Use the same color for a group of activities. If the activities or the tasks are related to each other in some manner, they will be more recognizable when marked with the same color.
Use various shades of colors. Tasks can be marked with bolder colors, while subtasks may be marked with more subtle shades of the same color.
Project prioritization made easy
Another best practice example is prioritization of project elements. Subtasks are no less important than the tasks themselves. Hence, sequencing tasks and showing subtask dependencies on main tasks is key to efficient project management.
Gantt charts have got plenty of signs and arrows to show dependency between tasks. By indicating such relationships, you can better sequence the activities. Sequencing will help you understand which tasks and subtasks need to be completed first and which ones need to follow the prioritized ones. This is especially important if you need to meet deadlines and report progress to clients or other stakeholders.
Play the visualization game
Gantt charts in project management prove to be really nice tools for visualizing things. People mostly perceive stuff visually. Hence, visual objects will boost mutual understanding between team members and will set mutually accepted expectations.
When all the tasks are on the same page and when people know what each team member should do, there is hardly any misconception there. Moreover, if a certain department does not manage to complete the assigned task, you will know the problem’s origins and will be able to find a solution fast. This is important from the managerial viewpoint as well.
Additionally, I would suggest to use Gantt charts not only to enhance communication between project participants, but also to engage external stakeholders. A visual map of tasks will be a better proof of work than a ton of documentation or paperwork. It’s never a bad idea to let your client track the steps your team is taking to achieve the desired goal.
Make it as interactive as possible
One of my younger colleagues told me she could now change her mind regarding the task schedule as many times as she wanted. It’s not a bad thing, even high-end project managers need to reestablish some deadlines and alter some tasks in a project plan.
If there is a problem like this, you can use interactive software for making Gantt charts. Such software allows to edit tasks, remove or shift deadlines and see what will result after such modifications.
Create a portfolio of best practices
Never delete Gantt charts; instead, collect them as portfolio of best practices like a photographer collects his or her best pictures. Even if the tasks listed in the chart are all completed, never throw away the data. Keep it as best practice for further projects. Project teams may change, new personnel may be involved, other projects will be started. In such cases, a previously completed Gantt chart will serve as a nice visual aid to help plan another project. By looking at previous charts, your employees will be able to spot drawbacks and make proper improvements for the new ones.
Following are the main features of a Gantt chart offered by EasyProjects:
Each project can have its Gantt chart
The charts are easily printable
The process can be broken down into months, weeks and smaller units
Full screen mode is available
Task name, start date, end date, duration and progress are shown in percentages
Responsibles can be tagged for each task
Gantt charts in project management are all about planning. Following are the main stages of planning and completing a project using a Gantt chart:
Setting goals and challenges: deciding what you need to achieve as a result of the project. Some goals may involve achieving certain client satisfaction rates or reaching a certain level of product sales.
Planning the project: breaking down a goal into tasks and subtasks based on the volume of human and monetary resources. As well as estimating time required for the completion of each task and indicating dependencies between tasks.
Drawing the Gantt chart: inserting tasks and requirements into the chart, adding start and end dates, as well as tagging team members.
Tracking the progress: monitoring work efficiency based on the percentage rates shown on the chart. As well as editing or reviewing roles and tasks, if needed.
Learning through doing: analyzing the achieved goals and work efficiency as soon as the project is finalized. Documenting best practices for further use.
Gantt charts not only make your life easier, but also enhance collaboration between all team members. Therefore it is crucial to have user-friendly Gantt chart software for successful project implementation. Gantt charts are usually easy to use and hardly ever require special staff trainings.

Posted : 11/11/2017 1:38 pm
Posts: 43
Eminent Member

I have yet to work in industry, but I do have experience in creating gantt charts in my capstone class in high school and during my undergraduate years in BME. I feel that sometimes the timelines are always off or not effectively predicted. For the next time, I have learned to meet with others to discuss how much time is needed for each event that needs to be completed before setting the date. Certain resources are needed in order to finish the project and gathering project material is also a necessary goal and should be put on the gantt chart. It is also important, like hc255 said above, to have weekly or biweekly meetings with the whole group in order to make sure the deadlines are being met. Although group gantt charts are essential, it is also important to make self gantt charts in order to make sure that your duties are being met and being accomplished on time. I believe that creating and using a gantt chart can make a difference in when a product or project is successful or not.

Posted : 11/11/2017 3:57 pm
Posts: 38
Eminent Member

For the Gantt chart you need to think through all the tasks involved in your project. The process will include working out who is responsible for each task and how long the task will take. One should also include the problems a team may encounter. A detailed thinking will help ensure that a designed schedule is workable, and that the right people are assigned to the right task. The Gnatt chart should also include workarounds to potential problems that may occur. In real life scenarios regardless of how well things seemed to be planned an issue always arises somewhere along the line. The chart will also help you determine the minimum time it will take to deliver and which tasks need to be priority. It will help determine the critical paths which involve the sequence of tasks that must individually be completed on time for the success of the project. It may also be used to keep a team or sponsors informed of the progress of the project at a given time. Simply put teams that I have participated in used the chart to display schedule changes, consequences and to communicate the completion of certain tasks.

Posted : 11/11/2017 5:57 pm
Posts: 40
Eminent Member

Gantt chart should have all the outline which tells the project start date, end date, each project steps like planning, designing, developing, quality, manufacturing, testing and marketing. It also includes budget planning and resource planning. The dates should be flexible enough that the gantt chart should consider mistakes and errors and considerable changes should be made. It is an approximation of project to be executed from idea to completed medical device to be marketed.

Posted : 12/11/2017 6:45 pm
Posts: 29
Eminent Member

Gantt chart is very important which defines the rough time of project execution and also documents the outlines involved in the process. It is a schedule that helps to plan, record/document and track specific tasks in a project. It should invovle the individual steps like planning, designing, developing, manufacturing, quality control, budget plans and testing. It should remain little flexible to incorporate mistakes and errors.

Posted : 12/11/2017 7:30 pm
Posts: 79
Trusted Member

I do not have any industry experience with Gantt Charts but for my senior design project at Rutgers, we were required to make one for each semester. For the first semester, we had just learned about it a few weeks after we started our project. Before having the chart, it was more difficult to decide what needed to be done for the project and what the next task was. After we created the chart, we have a better timeline of when everything was supposed to be done and how long it should take. The first semester was more trial and error because we did not account for exam days when we would not be able to work on the project or vacation days. We also fell behind on the Gantt chart because we didn’t account for materials that would take a few weeks to come in. We made due with the time we had and made sure we were doing something productive for the product we were designing to make up for the time that we had lost when waiting for the material to come in. The next semester, we created a better Gantt chart where we stayed more on task and had completed the design to the best of our ability. Gantt Charts save more time by having general deadlines and schedules and it helps keeps everyone on task. There will always be issues that can arise but the chart helps to find other tasks that need to be done or ways to fix the issue.

Posted : 31/10/2018 9:01 am
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