If you’ve ever led a multi-phase project, chances are you’ve felt overwhelmed with the amount of work that sits between your team and the end result. We’ve all been there, and know that project management can be nearly impossible without the right tools and techniques.
Gantt charts are a great way to help you better organize your team’s workload and could become a fundamental part of your team’s project management process if implemented properly.
Gantt charts provide a visual representation of tasks and workloads across the life of a project, making them especially useful for projects with multiple stages. These charts help you by organizing the phases of projects and displaying what is required for each step of the process. Creating charts that work for your team’s structure requires some background, as they are more detailed than your average weekly calendar view. But don’t feel too overwhelmed; Gantt charts have been around for over 100 years and are designed to help you execute projects in the most organized and efficient way possible. To better understand how these charts can make a difference in the way you manage projects, here is a breakdown of how they work.
Understanding Gantt Charts
From a distance, you might think a Gantt chart looks like a bar graph, but it actually has a few more components that make it unique. A Gantt chart displays the element of time on the x-axis, and task names on the y-axis. The size of a bar indicates the span of a project across the established time intervals on the chart. Other elements such as required resources, meeting notes, and team member names can be added if they are relevant to the project managers. This can help team leaders and project managers alike stay ahead of the game by keeping all of the necessary information in one place.
In Gantt charts, there are multiple types of sequential activities, with the two most popular being “finish to start” and “start to start.” Finish to start projects cannot begin until their predecessor is complete, and start to start projects cannot be started until a related project is started. If you work in an agency, this will definitely sound familiar to your team. When you cannot start a task until its predecessor is complete, you might feel a little lost or confused about what you should be working on. This is why Gantt charts break down each element of a project into segments. Rather than grouping all of these tasks together in one giant to-do item, you can separate your tasks into individual assignments that form the bigger picture of your project. Having this chart as a visual representation helps you keep the entire scope of your mission in mind, even when tasks start to diverge based on individual responsibilities.
Using Gantt Charts for Optimal Efficiency
Now that you’re familiar with how Gantt charts work, you can begin building them for your team’s projects. Unlike other tools, Gantt charts allow you to visualize the scope of different tasks simultaneously without having to combine multiple displays.
While they are incredibly useful, Gantt charts are not magic. If you aren’t organized with your workload scheduling already, you may need to get a few things in order before you make the switch to Gantt. This includes determining which tasks will be assigned to each individual on your team and what their role will be for a specific project, as it may differ from their regular duties in their role. Staying organized is crucial if you want to grow your business, which requires you to give your staff the tools they need to succeed and empower them to make decisions on behalf of the project. Project management tools can assist you in assigning tasks and creating to-do lists that encompass all parts of your company and each team member’s area of expertise.
When you’re able to keep track of everything that is going on simultaneously, it can help you estimate what needs to be done and when. This decreases overall risk, meaning that you are able to see where deadlines can be adjusted in case something has to be pushed back. For example, if a team member who is responsible for designing a graphic happens to be out sick, you won’t have to scramble to determine how the rest of the project will be affected. As a project manager, this can also help you decrease the amount of micromanaging that takes place, instilling more trust in your team members. Rather than check in with them multiple times throughout the week, you can simply go to your project’s Gantt chart to check individual progress and then decide whether you need to touch base as frequently.
Using Gantt Charts in CROOW
Project management software has streamlined how teams work together and has been especially helpful with many people working remotely. Choosing the right platform for your team is important, especially if you’re a creative agency. CROOW is an innovative platform where users can collaborate and manage projects, complete with customizable project templates. It was built with creatives in mind, as many creative projects have a unique workflow that requires a platform that can handle their personalized approaches.
CROOW’s Gantt chart feature allows you to lead multi-stage projects across longer timelines while keeping everything in one centralized hub. When you’re able to measure and track progress in the same location that you store assets and manage resources, you can avoid switching between programs and instead stay focused throughout the day.
Different project stages may require different responsibilities of your team members, but that’s no challenge for CROOW. It has the capability to display assignments mapped across various phases and timelines based on what your team needs. It is also flexible with contingencies, with the ability to move individual tasks or groups of to-do’s as timelines evolve and change throughout the process.
Gantt charts can make a major difference for your team, so consider giving them a try for your team’s next multi-phase project.