The Gantt chart is an essential tool for successful project management. A Gantt chart, in essence, serves as both a spreadsheet and a bar chart for your project. It compiles your project tasks on a timeline and is a great way to organize and control your project.
Of course, Gantt charts can serve as more than just a visual representation of your project over a period of time. You can set up relationships between tasks and even divide the larger project into smaller parts to get a better handle on managing it.
The problem with a traditional Gantt chart is that they’re complex and static. The complexity is unsurprising—projects can certainly be complicated—but they’re rarely, if ever, unchanging. In the past, as projects evolved, a pen-and paper or Excel Gantt chart template would have to be remade, which takes time and patience—especially when other aspects of your project demand priority.
But once Gantt charts went online, all that changed. A Gantt chart maker quickly became the go-to tool for project managers who needed to make a project plan and frequently update the schedule. If you’re looking for an online Gantt chart to help you plan and schedule, you’ve come to the right place.
How Online Gantt Charts Differ from Static Ones
The biggest difference between an online Gantt chart, and one done on paper or your desktop, is the online version has far more flexibility. Traditionally, once you add all your data to an old-fashioned Gantt chart, you’re stuck with it. If there are changes, then it’s back to the drawing board. It’s far more static.
It takes time to get all that information into your Gantt chart, especially when tasks are dependent on one another. To change one thing means to change it all. That means you’re scrambling to update a fundamental project management tool, while the project itself continues without your attention.
Gantt Chart Makers Automate the Process & Changes
On the other hand, online Gantt charts made with Gantt chart makers are far more dynamic. They can automatically adjust to reflect changes immediately. Just make the change, and the rest of the Gantt is updated. That data is now not just saved to your hard drive, but also in the cloud, making it not only accessible, but secure!
Since you’re online, that Gantt can do more than merely lay out your project schedule on a timeline. Even a static Gantt can link dependencies and set milestones, but they can’t adjust to changes instantly without you doing more than inputting those changes.
Another thing an online Gantt chart does is help teams collaborate. Everyone can work better together, because everyone is working on the same tool. Changes in tasks are reflected as status updates, so what it shows is always the most current information available. This is a boon to distributed teams that are not working together under the same roof, but now share a virtual space in which to boost their productivity.
So, you have a Gantt chart that can update automatically, gets real-time data and acts as a collaborative platform for your team. You can even track progress on an online Gantt, seeing what percentage complete your team’s tasks are, giving you transparency into the process.
Therefore, an online Gantt chart is important for anyone managing a project. If you want to have an online Gantt chart maker that makes it easy to get started, respond to changes and is integrated into a larger project management suite of software tools, then read on.
How to Use a Gantt Chart Maker
ProjectManager.com is an award-winning Gantt chart maker with features to manage every part of your project. Our cloud-based software gives you real-time data to respond quickly as you plan, schedule, track and report on your project. Try it today with this free 30-day trial.
Once you’re set up and in our tool, follow these simple steps to get started with our online Gantt chart maker.
1. Launch Your Project in the Gantt Chart view
Begin with uploading your task list, or by using one of our industry-specific templates, to collect tasks your tasks in the software. We can import any spreadsheet or Microsoft Project file. Our flexibility sets us apart from other Gantt chart creators, especially if you need to make a Gantt chart on a Mac.
2. Add Task Details to Your Gantt Chart
Get your tasks filled out by adding summary tasks to the Gantt, including planned start and end dates. This gives each task a duration and sets it across the project timeline.
3. Set Milestones on the Gantt Timeline
Break the project into manageable phases with the milestone feature, which is indicated on the Gantt by a diamond symbol. Project milestones indicate key points in your project schedule, such as when a phase ends or begins.
4. Link Dependencies
Connect tasks that are dependent on one another to start or finish with the link button, or by dragging one to the other. This helps you avoid bottlenecks later on in the project. When you need to update a linked task, all the dependent tasks will update automatically as well: that’s the power of an online Gantt chart maker.
5. Get Baseline for Your Schedule
See what your baseline is by capturing the original targets you set up in your schedule. This can then be used later to compare against your actual progress to stay on track. People often think Gantt charts are just for planning, but when it’s online, you can use it to track your progress as well, as the data is in real time.
6. List Expenses for Your Project
Stay on budget by adding your planned and actual resource costs, and planned and actual costs, to the Gantt chart. Now you can track your expenses as you execute the project.
7. Filter to Find the Critical Path on the Gantt Chart
Get the critical path for your project by just filtering the Gantt. This shows you the tasks that you can ignore, and which are essential if you experience a time crunch.
8. Assign & Collaborate
Give your team tasks to complete, complete with detailed descriptions. Attach files and images to the task, set priority and tags to make it easier to find in a search. Comment windows allow teams to collaborate. They’re alerted by email as tasks are commented on or updated.
More Than Just an Online Gantt Chart Maker
Just as Gantt charts evolved online, our online Gantt chart maker has taken cloud-based technology and supersized it with features like creating a baseline and finding the critical path of your project. You can filter the data, add as many columns as you need and customize those columns to fit into your organization’s needs.
The Gantt chart is only one of multiple project views, all of which are simultaneously updated, so everyone is always on the same page. Managers tend to live on the Gantt, but teams usually prefer to work with the kanban and its visual workflow. But there’s also dynamic calendar views and robust task lists that let you work how you want.
There’s so much more the Gantt chart can do, such as track progress. As your team updates their status, that information is instantly reflected by shading on the task duration bar. For a high-level view of progress measured over six metrics, such as cost, workload and more, use our real-time dashboard. It automatically calculates status updates and displays them in colorful charts and graphs. Stakeholders may want more detailed data, which is where one-click reporting comes in, filtered to show just what they want to see.
Monitoring is important, but so is keeping your resources meeting the capacity of your team to help them work as productively as possible. While you can see the availability of your team members on the Gantt chart, which days they’re working and when they’re off, the workload page is a color-coded chart of their task allocation. From here, you can quickly see who has too much work and reallocate some of their tasks to those who have too few, avoiding burnout.
Benefits of Using an Online Gantt Chart Maker
If you’re still on the fence, here are a few more bullet points that emphasize the benefits of trying out a Gantt chart maker.
See everything that’s happening, as it happens, with an online Gantt chart. Updates are instantly reflected throughout the software, giving you both an overview and a detailed look at the progress of your project.
Keeping the lines of communication open and clear is what separates successful projects from those that fail. Not only can communication between team members occur at the task level, but those not assigned can be brought into the conversation by tagging them.
Have a handle on your resources and how much you’re spending on them. The Gantt helps you track every resource attached to each task, even reassigning it to keep up with your team’s capacity.
Respond to Changes
When changes occur in the project, your online Gantt chart is equipped to adapt without spending unnecessary time creating a new one. All you have to do is drag and drop the due date, or deadline, to the new spot on the timeline and everything is adjusted automatically.
Stay in touch with your team members, whether they’re seated at the next desk or in a different country. Online Gantt charts mean you can comment, share documents and monitor their progress. Have confidence that they’re working without getting in their way.
See what your team is doing on the Gantt and allow them to have the same window into the project. They gain accountability into their work and morale is boosted as they complete tasks and move from milestone to milestone.
ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based tool that helps teams and projects get organized. Use our online Gantt chart creator to plan and schedule your project. Then manage resources, teams, tasks and more with our integrated suite of project management features. Get started on making your Gantt chart now by taking this 30-day free trial.