Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gantt Charts in Excel

When used correctly and consistently, Gantt Charts can be invaluable tools to managers, analysts, and employees in the front lines.  So what, exactly, are Gantt Charts?

Well, first of all, they are a comparatively simple bar charts that illustrate and track the evolution of a project.  Developed by a management consultant by the name of Henry Gantt back in the early 20th century.  These respected charts clarify the start and finish dates of a project’s elements, and can be easily grasped a quick glance.  Groundbreaking at the time they were developed, Gantt charts are considered mainstream today.

Along with Microsoft Project, there are several specialty software solutions for producing these charts.  For many, however, good old Excel handles this quite satisfactorily, thank you.  Here is what you should do:

1.     Open a New workbook in Excel (version 2013 is recommended)
2.     Type in “Gantt” in the Search for online templates box
3.     Choose the Project Planner template and click Create

The Project Planner Gantt chart template will then open, and you can customize it to suit your business and aesthetic needs.  Please Note: You can access Manage Rules under Conditional Formatting on the Home ribbon and revise the formatting and range of the chart.  I recommend that you modify the formatting, as the default, IMHO, is rather ugly.

With these easily created and used Excel Gantt Charts, you can quickly see where each activity is according to plan.  Give it a try the next time a Big Project comes by!

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