Many of us, entrepreneurs, perceive our business as "a child" that needs to be nurtured, educated, raised and which, at one point, through the results produced, will make us proud of the "work" submitted.
Other entrepreneurs talk about their business as "a soul project" and may, including this word - project, cause the latter to have a more pragmatic approach to what they want to accomplish. By project, we will understand a broad action or a complex process meant to achieve a well-defined purpose. Thus, as main features of the project we have: an objective (which can be a good product, a quantity of information or an organizational result), a set of activities/tasks (related logically and technologically) and a process (through which it establishes the inter conditions between activities/tasks and the order of their execution/execution).
So we have an idea, an objective (not necessarily SMART), an analysis of the resources, actions and time we need to start our project. The "time" coordinate is essential. In vain do I know what I want to do if I don't know when and how long I will do what I set out to do.
"The objectives are dreams with deadlines", someone said and, indeed, the component "time" is critical for any business, project. If you didn't schedule your time well, you didn't actually schedule anything.
Without going into too much theoretical and technical detail, a Gantt chart proposes several models of graphical representation of a program of activities that use to plan, coordinate and monitor permanent and real the specific tasks that we have to put into practice and, very important, it allows to estimate the duration in time (beginning and end - achievement), the necessary resources and the order (logical, technological) in which the tasks must be performed.
Depending on your wishes, creativity and possibilities, Gantt tables can be made in a simplistic way by drawing a graph on a sheet of paper or using more complex tools.
Simply, the graphic illustration of this planning tool resides in a matrix/table with two axes - X and Y; again elementary mathematics.
On the horizontal axis, the time periods on which the project/business is expected to be carried out in different units of measure (hours, days, weeks, months) and established following the initial analysis or, frankly, the estimated duration of activity are positioned.
On the vertical axis are represented all the concrete tasks identified of the project or the list of activities to be carried out. Each task/activity is assigned a row and can be marked by a number or name. On the left side, the expected beginning for the respective task is marked, and on the right side/edge the expected end of the task. The proposed tasks can be developed conditionally, chronologically from other tasks, simultaneously, superimposed or not, temporarily.
As the plan progresses, the matrix is updated by loading the bars to a length that is appropriate to the percentage of the task performed. Simple, a vertical line is drawn for the current date of the operation. The completed tasks will appear totally on the left side of the line, the ongoing ones crossed by the line, and the future ones on the right. Current line tasks, depending on where the line intersects, will indicate whether there is a delay or delay in scheduling.
Also, for the people you work with for your business, be they employees, associates, collaborators, etc. or for the project team, it is of great help that, in the right or above each task/activity, those responsible for completing it are passed.
When developing the Gantt chart, try to limit yourself to a reasonable number of tasks (recommended no more than 15-20) so that it fits on a page and is easy to follow and interpret. In the case of more complex projects, subordinate diagrams can be drawn up that include the schedule of secondary tasks that form the main task.
There may also be problems when reprogramming operations are required or required. The management and tracking of an overly detailed chart itself can prove difficult.
Another weakness of Gantt charts is that they do not indicate the interdependence between tasks/activities and, thus, we cannot conclude in what way or degree a task, remaining, for example, after planning or offset by other causes, it will affect the others. For this purpose the PERT (Program Evaluation and Analysis Techniques) or CPM (Critical Path Method) diagrams are used, the Gantt being not a network graph, it remains an alternative or a complement to these two. In project management, he appears, precisely because of the simplicity of representing the succession of the activities provided for the implementation of a project, as a necessary tool for supervision.
We are dealing with an almost classical calendar tool, an accessible interface that allows anyone to estimate the duration, resources and order of tasks/activities, the steps to be followed, monitors the progress made and helps in making intervention/change decisions when we are not. We fit within the parameters provided, it constantly draws attention to the stages that require further execution, execution and warns us to a closer observation and analysis of the data to which changes were made in the course of activities.
Without forecast, there is no result, and careful planning brings the desired result significantly closer.
The Gantt chart is one of the simplest, most valuable and widely used planning tools.
Use it with confidence!