Practical Application: Using Gantt Charts & Bar Graphs

Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Created some time ago, the Gantt Chart remains the visual aid of choice for project managers around the world. In this scenario, you'll demonstrate your ability to create and interpret these charts.

The Gantt Chart Revisited

In the world of project management, the Gantt chart is a mainstay. Despite being an older creation, this type of chart remains the method of choice for visually depicting the intricate elements of a project's scheduling. That way, if something goes wrong or takes longer than expected, you can narrow down the part of the project that's the problem.

In the lesson Gantt Charts & Bar Graphs: Henry Gantt's Contributions to Management, you learned that the Gantt chart is used to depict the timeline and completion of the various tasks associated with a project. Terminal elements are the small tasks that are taken in aggregate to fulfill larger project tasks known as summary elements.

Let's look at two examples in which you can apply your knowledge by creating Gantt charts and interpreting the items already plotted.

Scenario 1: First Evolution Gantt Chart

For your first application, put yourself in the position of a project manager assigned to a software development project. Look at the raw, not-yet-organized data below. Then translate it into a simple Gantt Chart as outlined in the associated lesson. Summary elements for the Gantt Chart are bolded while terminal elements are not.

Technical Design Thompson - - -
Technical Playbook Smith 0% 11/8/18 11/11/18
Technical Design Worden 0% 11/11/18 11/13/18
Hardware Purchase Smith 0% 11/13/18 11/17/18
Hardware Installation Scott 0% 11/17/18 11/22/18
User Interface Martinez 0% 11/12/18 11/14/18
Deployment Patel - - -
Deployment Playbook Soper 0% 11/13/18 11/17/18
Deployment Cunningham 0% 11/15/18 11/20/18
Pilot Testing Cunningham 0% 11/20/18 11/23/18
Soft Launch Cunningham 0% 11/20/18 11/22/18
Final Go-Live Patel 0% 11/20/18 11/23/18
Training Kinsley - - -
Recruit Superusers Johnson 0% 11/23/18 11/28/18
Train the Trainer Jorgenson 0% 11/29/18 12/3/18
Vendor Training Hall 0% 12/4/18 12/9/18
Train Superusers Gregg 0% 12/10/18 12/14/18
End User Training Gregg 0% 12/4/18 12/8/18

Once your Gantt Chart is complete, it should look similar to the one below.

Gantt Chart 1

Scenario 2: Update Mid-Project

As you move through a project, the Gantt Chart will be updated frequently to reflect the reaching of milestones, changes in time windows, and completion percentages. To apply this added dimension, take the Gantt Chart you created earlier and revise it to reflect the updated information below.

Change only the elements with updated information. If there are no updates, leave the data as-is. Once updated, generate a new, updated Gantt Chart.

Element Percent Complete
User Interface 35%
Technical Playbook 100%
Technical Design 50%
Pilot Testing 92%
Superuser Recruitment 13%

When complete, it might look something like this:

Updated Gantt Chart

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