Whether you’re new to Gantt charts or you’ve been using them for years, the Gantt chart examples in this article can serve as helpful inspiration for your current and future projects.
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There are several reasons why the Gantt chart is a popular project management tool. Gantt charts are used to manage resources, track progress, and identify bottlenecks and stoppages in your workflow.
Employed in nearly every industry, Gantt charts can be used to:
- Plan and schedule projects
- Measure progress over time
- Facilitate team collaboration
They’re also very flexible and can be customized to meet the unique needs of the project manager. In this article, we’re going to look at Gantt chart examples to understand their versatility and the different ways they are used.
Gantt Chart Examples for Project Management
When you think about Gantt charts in project management, the first thing that probably comes to mind is engineering or IT projects. But with a little tweaking, you can use a Gantt chart for any industry.
This is a screenshot of an employee onboarding project that’s been planned on a Gantt chart. The chart standardizes the entire onboarding program, mapping out every key step that takes place during the probationary period. While human resources isn’t typically a department that comes to mind when most people think about Gantt charts, this picture effectively demonstrates how anyone can use a Gantt chart in their project.
Now, let’s look at two traditional Gantt chart examples.
This is an image of an external IT project planned on a Gantt chart. Looking at this chart, you can tell that the project isn’t Agile. It relies heavily on milestones, and work is completed in a Waterfall fashion. Each milestone must be reached sequentially, leaving little room to deviate from the initial project plan.
Above is a screenshot of an internal IT project. Like the external project, there isn’t much agility on this chart. Work is completed sequentially, also using the Waterfall method.
Both charts pictured above are traditional IT projects. They’re both linear and don’t give teams the opportunity to deviate from the original plan.
But not every type of Gantt chart must follow such a rigid Waterfall method. Let’s look at some Gantt chart examples that offer greater flexibility and incorporate Agile elements.
Gantt Chart Examples for Marketing Teams
Gantt charts are one of the most versatile tools in the project manager’s arsenal. They’re flexible enough to support nearly any type of work, including projects that combine the Waterfall method with iterative work.
This image is an example of a Gantt chart following the hybrid approach. While the tasks are completed one by one under the Waterfall method, the work is planned in sprints instead of across a long-term timeline.
The major benefit of this type of Gantt chart is that it allows the marketing department to plan continuously. Planning is done in short-term cycles instead of over a year. Teams are better equipped to respond to feedback and implement changes that keep the project aligned with customer preferences and stakeholder interests.
A hybrid Gantt chart gives you the best of both worlds; teams comfortable with the Agile approach can work in sprints with shorter feedback loops, while stakeholders who are familiar with Waterfall can use milestones to keep track of the project as it progresses.
Now, compare that hybrid marketing chart with this Gantt chart for a product launch.
This chart is also for a marketing initiative, but the project is planned significantly differently from its hybrid counterpart. One of the first things you may notice is the complexity of this project. There’s a lot of work that’s mapped out on the chart, as well as a clear start and end date.
Unlike the hybrid chart, work isn’t assigned in quick sprints with this project. Instead, you have a view of the entire project lifecycle, from ideation to the actual launch of the product. Each task and phase of the project is accompanied by deadlines, and important goals and objectives are assigned milestones.
This type of Gantt chart isn’t confined exclusively to marketing campaigns. It works well with many complex, long-term projects.
By planning every step of the project lifecycle, you can give your teams a workable roadmap to follow. The project is also using the Waterfall approach, making it easier for you to identify stoppages and bottlenecks by looking at tasks that are behind schedule.
The Hybrid Gantt Chart Example
Out of all the Gantt chart examples, no type demonstrates the versatility of a Gantt chart like a hybrid chart.
In the previous example of a hybrid chart, we looked at how Gantt charts can be used to facilitate continuous short-term planning. Now let’s look at how you can build a hybrid chart that incorporates the same rolling-wave planning approach, but over a longer timeline.
This is a screenshot of a product development Gantt chart. The project has been planned out for the entire year, but notice how the work is broken down into quarterly iterations. Teams plan and deliver work on a month-to-month basis, while stakeholders receive an expanded chart that provides a bigger picture of the project, accompanied by milestones to help them track its progress.
Key benefits of running a hybrid Gantt chart include:
- Providing traditional leadership with information they’re comfortable with, like concrete dates and important milestones
- Work is planned, executed, and completed on a monthly basis
- Having everything visualized on the Gantt chart offers a clear idea of how the sprint cycle looks year to year
Overall, Gantt scheduling combined with Agile planning is a great way to inspire teams to take ownership of their work, while keeping them on the same page with management for the duration of the project.
The Program Management Gantt Chart Example
Next up in the list of Gantt chart examples is this program management plan.
Program managers have different responsibilities than project managers. Instead of directly running a project from start to finish, program managers oversee a bundle of projects.
While program and project managers are both in charge of initiatives that help their organization achieve its strategic objectives, program managers look at the bigger picture. They plan and track multiple projects that must be completed to reach organizational goals. That’s why program management charts look somewhat different than Gantt chart examples for Agile and Waterfall projects.
An effective program management Gantt chart should:
- Offer a bird’s eye view of every project bundled into the program
- Show important dates, milestones, and timelines for every project
- Offer enough detail to monitor the status of the program, but avoid being overly complex and cluttered with irrelevant information
This type of Gantt chart is also used to communicate status updates to stakeholders. Managers and stakeholders can use the chart to see whether the program is on track and operating within its budget and scope by looking at the Red Amber Green (RAG) status. In the chart pictured above, we can see that:
- Product Rebranding and Gated Product Development are running smoothly
- IT Procurement Initiative has potential issues that may need to be addressed in the future
- Software Implementation Services is experiencing problems that the teams must resolve in order to successfully complete the project
You can also choose which KPIs you want to track on the product management Gantt chart. Popular KPIs include:
- Return on investment
- Time to market
- Resource utilization
There is a wide range of helpful KPIs for program managers that will make it easier for you to measure the performance and success of your projects, then communicate that progress to vested stakeholders.
A Gantt Chart Example with Dependencies
Project management is hard work. If you’re managing larger, more complex projects, you’ll have a lot of tasks that are dependent on other work.
Many of the Gantt chart examples in this article have used the Waterfall method that requires work to be completed in sequential order. Gantt charts let you create dependencies, so you and your teams can see how every task is connected.
The image above shows a project with dependencies mapped out on the Gantt chart. They are displayed on the chart as an arrow connecting tasks. The dependencies shown in this chart are Finish-to-Start dependencies, meaning Task A must be completed before Task B can begin.
There are three tasks at the beginning of the Gantt chart pictured above:
- Presentation workshop
- Create new brand concept
Notice how each task is connected to the task before it. That means “Workshop” needs to be completed before a team can begin “Presentation Work-Shop,” and “Presentation Work-Shop” must be completed before the team can start “Create new brand concept.”
Dependencies are a visual indicator of how the work within your project is connected. While this project (and similar Waterfall projects) is straightforward, keeping track of dependencies can be difficult without the help of a Gantt chart.
One reason for that is because there are other dependency types besides Finish-to-Start dependencies. Some require you to start two tasks at the same time, others require you to finish work at the same time, and so on. Without a visual project management tool like the Gantt chart to map out these relationships, it will be almost impossible to keep track of your dependencies if you’re managing a complex or long-term project.
A Gantt Chart Example with Multiple Milestones
Now that we’ve talked about dependencies, let’s look at a gated Gantt chart that uses multiple milestones.
Like many of the other Gantt chart examples covered in this article, this project follows the Waterfall method. Work is completed in sequential order, with each task dependent on the preceding assignment. However, there’s one thing that distinguishes this chart from the other Gantt charts we’ve covered – the milestones.
The multiple-milestone Gantt chart has a milestone after each task. Every milestone acts as its own gate, signifying a stopping point. With this type of project, work must be reviewed by management or an executive sponsor and approved before the team can move onto the next stage.
This type of project doesn’t allow for any deviation from the original plan. Above everything else, teams are concerned with reaching the next milestone. The project stops every time your teams reach a milestone, and it doesn’t move forward until they’re approved to pass through the gate.
The Product Roadmap
The product roadmap is different from the other Gantt chart examples we’ve covered. Considered to be a subcategory of Gantt charts, the roadmap offers a holistic view of your program.
With Gantt charts, work is broken down into specific phases with parent-child relationships and structured deadlines. Roadmaps, on the other hand, give you a bird’s eye view of your project and everything you want to achieve over an extended period of time. Roadmaps offer:
- An overall idea of the company’s strategic goals and objectives
- A general timeline for reaching those objectives
- An understanding of the whole program, minus the intricate details
With roadmaps, work is bundled into packages, and each package has multiple initiatives. For example, in the picture above, the NBA All-Star Sneaker Line package consists of three activities:
- Product Freeze
- Organization Ready
Notice how the activities aren’t as specific as tasks on a Gantt chart. That’s because roadmaps are used to provide greater overall perspective. They show you the entire view of one or more programs, as well as the multiple projects within those programs.
Also, bear in mind that roadmaps aren’t supposed to have hard deadlines. They’re designed to be flexible, and can change over time depending on internal and external factors.
Making a Gantt Chart in Excel
All the Gantt chart examples covered in this article have been online charts. You may have heard about project managers using Excel to create and manage their Gantt charts. While it is possible to make a chart with a spreadsheet, there are some things you should consider before managing your projects in Excel.
First and foremost, yes, Gantt charts can be used in Excel. And yes, they can work effectively.
With that said, Excel isn’t designed specifically for project management, which means Gantt charts can easily become cluttered and difficult to read. On top of that, some project managers tend to overengineer Excel charts, leading to overplanning and cluttering charts with unnecessary information. This adds to the confusion, and can turn a simple Gantt chart into an overwhelming mess.
Also, Excel isn’t a Software as a Service (SaaS) product like online Gantt charts. You and your teams could be using different versions of the same Gantt chart, meaning some people are working with out-of-date information.
With online Gantt charts, your project data is stored centrally in the cloud. Charts are updated in real-time, so all parties have access to the same up-to-date information every time they view their chart.
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