Henry Gantt’s Biography & Role in Gantt Chart History


The Gantt chart has become a staple of project management. Have you ever wondered why Gantt charts are capitalized or where the tool originated? It’s capitalized because Gantt is a proper noun. It’s the name of Henry Gantt (1861-1919).

Who was Henry Gantt and what was the history of the Gantt chart? We’ll provide a biography of the man and a short Gantt chart history. To further illustrate what a Gantt chart is, we’ll give you an example and link to a free Gantt chart template for Excel that you can download and use right away.

Who Was Henry Gantt?

But first, let’s look at the man who brought us the Gantt chart. Henry Gantt was an American who worked as a mechanical engineer and management consultant. He’s best remembered for the tool that bears his name and his works in the development of what’s called scientific management.

Scientific management is a theory that analyzes and synthesizes workflows to improve economic efficiency, especially in labor productivity. It was an early attempt to merge the science of engineering processes with management. It was pioneered by Frederick Winslow Taylor, an American mechanical engineer.

While Gantt charts are named after Henry Gantt, the first Gantt chart was developed by Karol Adamiecki, a Polish engineer, in the mid-1890s. It was 15 years later in the 1910s that Henry Gantt created his version of the Gantt chart, one that was widely adopted in Western countries. Of course, back then Gantt charts were drawn by hand, which was a labor-intensive method.

Modern technology has taken the paper Gantt chart and digitized it, adding more functionality and ease of use. ProjectManager is award-winning project and portfolio management software with Gantt charts that would make Henry Gantt proud.

Our Gantt charts are more than horizontal bar charts that organize tasks across project phases. You can link all four types of task dependencies to avoid delays and filter for the critical path to find essential tasks that must be done to complete the project. Then, set a baseline to capture your project plan and compare it to your actual progress in real time to stay on track. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s powerful Gantt charts help you plan, manage and track your projects in real time. Learn more

Henry Gantt Biography

Henry Gantt has made a lasting impact on project management. His Gantt charts are fundamental tools when managing projects, especially in the waterfall methodology. But his business impact goes even further as he was an early proponent of the social responsibility of businesses.

Early Years

Henry Gantt was born in Calvert County, Maryland where his family owned a plantation. This was just as the American Civil War started. When the Confederacy lost to the Union, his family lost their land and enslaved people. The family then moved to Baltimore.


In 1878, Henry Gantt graduated from McDonogh School and then in 1880 from Johns Hopkins University. He taught at McDonogh for three years while working on his Master of Engineering degree in mechanical engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

Related: How to Create a Gantt in Excel


Portrait of Henry Gantt, creator of the Gantt chart

After leaving teaching, Henry Gantt worked as a draftsman at Poole & Hunt, a Baltimore-based iron foundry and machine shop. He began applying scientific management principles when he joined Frederick W. Taylor in 1887. He applied those principles at Midvale Steel and Bethlehem Steel. Henry Gantt worked with Taylor until 1893.

Henry Gantt worked on projects at Joseph Bancroft & Sons Company and Wiliams and Wilkins from 1908-9. In 1911, Henry Gantt, Taylor, Frank Gilbreth and Carl Barth founded the Society to Promote the Science of Management. It was later renamed the Taylor Society.

During this time he was writing articles, such as “A Bonus System of Rewarding Labor” and “A Graphical Daily Balance in Manufacture” for various trade magazines. He also authored the booklet Training Workmen in Habits of Industry and Cooperation. Later he published Work, Wages and Profits: Their Influence on the Cost of Living (1910), Industrial Leadership (1916) and Organizing for Work (1919).

From 1902 to 1919, Henry Gantt was also a private consultant to industry on how to improve efficiency and, after inventing the Gantt chart, he created the task and bonus system of wage payment to improve worker efficiency and productivity.

In 1916, Henry Gantt set up an association called New Machine to import his theories to political progress. He also broke away from the 1916 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) conference and called for the socialization of industrial production.

Major Accomplishments

Henry Gantt’s major accomplishment, one still influencing work today, is the Gantt chart. This management tool is a graph that’s used in planning, scheduling and controlling work. He’s also a forefather of industrial efficiency through scientific analysis that removes chance and accidents.

Henry Gantt linked bonuses to managers on their ability to improve employee performance, which he called the task and bonus system. There’s also his commitment to the social responsibility of businesses to care for the welfare of the society in which they operate.

Get your free

Gantt Chart Template For Word

Use this free Gantt Chart Template For Word for Word to manage your projects better.


Gantt Chart History

Henry Gantt made several Gantt charts, building on ideas that had come before him and influencing project management to this day. All of his charts were made to help managers see if their production was on schedule or not.

Karol Adamiecki’s Harmonogram

While mostly lost to popular management history, no discussion of Henry Gantt and Gantt chart history would be complete without the mention of Karol Adamiecki (1866-1933). The Polish engineer created one of the earliest methods of scheduling work. He called this invention the harmonogram, which increased output by 100 and 400 percent in metal rolling mills, machine shops, chemical plants, agriculture and mining.

The harmonogram is a form of graphical analysis used in the theory of work harmonization. It was a project network diagram with graphical solutions to production problems. It incorporates features of the Gantt chart with network concepts. This early precursor to the Gantt chart didn’t publish his findings until 1931 and only did so in Polish.

Henry Gantt’s Gantt Chart

Toward the end of his life, Henry Gantt developed the project management tool known as the Gantt chart. It’s a bar chart that is displayed horizontally to show the project schedule and all its activities from start to finish. It was during the First World War that Gantt charts were used in greater frequency by the United States for its war effort.

Gantt Chart Software

Remember that these early Gantt charts, such as the one created by Henry Gantt, were drawn on paper and had to be redone each time there was a change. This was both a laborious and complicated process, which led to Gantt charts having a bad reputation.

That changed with the move to Gantt chart software. As Gantt charts migrated to digital platforms, they became easier to use. Gantt charts then started to appear in project management software. No longer did one have to build a Gantt chart from scratch. They were easier to edit and even connect with other project management features to add efficiency Henry Gantt likely couldn’t imagine.

Gantt Chart Example

To better understand what a Gantt chart is and how it can be used, let’s look at a construction project. Below you’ll see the Gantt chart, with a spreadsheet on the left and a timeline on the right. The project plan is broken up into phases to make it more manageable, and under each phase are tasks and subtasks.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart

In this Gantt chart example, there are also columns for the planned start, planned resource cost and planned hours for each task. The timeline part of the Gantt chart is color-coded by project phase. The diamond icon represents a project milestone or important date, here being the end of one phase and the beginning of the next.

Gantt Chart Template

If you want to use a Gantt chart right now, you can download our free Gantt chart template for Excel. Our free Gantt chart template is designed to make it easy to start scheduling your projects with Gantt charts.

ProjectManager's free Gantt chart template

When you open our customizable Gantt chart template you’ll find a spreadsheet on the left where you can list all your project tasks, including their start and end dates and the duration of the task in days. As you do, you’ll notice that the timeline to the right automatically populates. Each task is represented by a bar that you can make a different color to help differentiate it.

ProjectManager Has Powerful Gantt Charts

Of course, a Gantt chart template is only a small step away from the Gantt charts that Henry Gantt made. While they can be helpful, in reality, they’re static project documents that require a lot of manual labor to build and keep updated. Why not use best-in-class Gantt charts on interactive software instead?

ProjectManager is award-winning project and portfolio management software that has Gantt charts that do much more than a template can. We already told you about our robust Gantt charts, but what we haven’t said is how seamlessly they work with our other project management features.

Track Resource Utilization and Project Costs

Once you’ve onboarded the team, you can set their availability, including PTO, vacation time and even global holidays for remote workers. This makes it quick and easy to assign resources to tasks. Then you can visit the color-coded workload chart to see your team’s allocation.

If some team members have been assigned more tasks than others, you can balance their workload right from that chart and keep them working at capacity. To track labor costs, use our secure timesheets, which streamline payroll and give you transparency into what percentage of their tasks have been completed and how much that is costing the project.

ProjectManager's workload chart
Monitor Progress and Performance

When you set the baseline to your project plan on our online Gantt chart, the whole software works to track your project variance. You can get a high-level overview of a project by toggling over to the real-time dashboards or portfolio dashboards if you’re managing multiple projects. The dashboards collect live data and display it on easy-to-read graphs and charts showing time, cost, workload and more.

Inferior software will make you set up dashboards, but who has the time for that? If you want more detail, then use our customizable reports. You can quickly generate status or portfolio reports as well as reports on variance, timesheets, workload or more. All reports can be filtered to show only what you want to see and then shared with stakeholders to keep them updated.

ProjectManager's dashboardHenry Gantt FAQ

If you want the facts about Henry Gantt, here are some of the frequently asked questions answered.

What Is Henry Gantt Known For?

Henry Gantt is known for his work in scientific management and the development of the Gantt chart, which is a horizontal bar chart used in scheduling projects

What Does Gantt Stand For?

Gantt stands for the surname of the name who introduced the Gantt chart, Henry Gantt. He was the first to introduce this project management tool and his name was widely used to describe his invention.

Who Developed the Gantt Chart?

While there were precursors, the man credited with the first Gantt chart as we use it today is Henry Gantt. He was a mechanical engineer and developer of scientific management, which used science to improve worker productivity.

What Did Henry Gantt Invent?

Henry Gantt is credited as the inventor of the project management tool that uses his name, the Gantt chart. Gantt was a mechanical engineer who used the Gantt chart as a way to more efficiently schedule work.

What Is Henry Gantt’s Contribution to Project Management?

Henry Gantt is most famous in project management as the inventor of the Gantt chart, used to schedule projects more efficiently. But he also was a forefather in the development of scientific management, which used the scientific method to create greater efficiencies in work, such as the task and bonus system that rewarded managers who got more out of their workers.

Related Gantt Chart Content

Now that you know more about Henry Gantt, the inventor of the Gantt chart, perhaps you’re interested in learning more about Gantt charts and how they’re used in project management. Below, you’ll find half a dozen articles we’ve made on Gantt charts, Gantt chart software and Gantt chart alternatives, to name only a few.

ProjectManager is online project and portfolio management software that connects teams whether they’re in the office, out in the field or anywhere else in the world. They can share files, comment at the task level and stay updated with email and in-app notifications. Join teams from companies as diverse as Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our software to deliver success. Get started today for free.