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Gantt charts are horizontal bar charts that were introduced in 1917 as a production control tool. They are often used in project management for the purposes of charting the deliverables for a project (with deadlines) that appear in chronological order. Now used widely the world over for all kinds of projects and in management, Gantt charts provide graphical illustrations of a plan to coordinate and track tasks over time.
Henry L. Gantt, an American engineer and social scientist, is said to have used them to plan engineering projects. Gantt charts are also used to illustrate a schedule for the separate steps and deadlines for research projects. Gantt charts are helpful in illustrating the start and finish points for activities in a long-range project, and reveal dependencies of relationships between activities. They can be used to show current schedule status using percent-complete shadings and a vertical "TODAY" line. Although regarded as a common technique, Gantt charts were considered revolutionary for their time. During the rise of scientific management, Henry Gantt developed the tool to display progress such as the tracking of ship building projects.
Gantt charts may be simple versions created on graph paper or more complex automated versions that use project management applications such as Microsoft Project or Excel.
Why use a Gantt chart?
Gantt charts are useful tools for planning and scheduling projects. They allow you to assess how long a project should take, determine the resources needed, and help to plan the order in which tasks need to be completed. Gantt charts are useful in managing the interdependencies between tasks. When projects are under way, Gantt charts are useful for monitoring its progress. You can immediately see what should have been achieved at a point in time, and can therefore take remedial action to bring the project back on course. This can be essential for the successful and profitable implementation of the project.