3. Identify dependencies
There are two types of tasks you’ll have on your Gantt chart: parallel tasks and sequential tasks. Parallel tasks can be worked on alongside other tasks, whereas sequential tasks are dependent on other work in the project.
Linear tasks are your dependencies, and there are three types of linear tasks to keep in mind:
- Start-to-start tasks: Tasks that can’t begin until the preceding task starts
- Finish-to-finish tasks: Tasks that can’t be finished until another task is completed
- Finish-to-start tasks: Tasks that can’t begin until the preceding task ends
Identify the linear tasks in your project. This will help you get a feel for how long the project will take, and how long it should take for each step to be completed.
4. Come up with a timeline for the project
Once you’ve mapped out project tasks and identified dependencies, you’ll need to come up with a project timeline.
Keep in mind that you should avoid being overly ambitious when planning the Gantt chart timeline.
- Think about potential setbacks that could slow the project down
- Estimate the timeframe for each task on a case-by-case basis, carefully considering the length of time it’ll take teams to complete an assignment
- Don’t forget to take dependencies into account when creating the project timeline
As a general rule, it’s better to err on the side of caution when developing the project timeline. If you move too quickly, you could be setting unrealistic expectations, causing team members to miss their deadlines. This can lead to unnecessary stress, which could have an effect on overall performance.
5. Arrange your tasks and build your chart
Your Gantt chart is almost complete. All you need to do now is organize and enter tasks. Start by arranging your work, listing each task and its dependency in the correct order.
Using a Gantt chart software solution really comes in handy here. Simply enter the tasks, along with their start and end times, and your project management tool will build the chart for you.