The Gantt chart

A very useful tool for visualizing and managing projects is the Gantt chart. This chart is able to display all the activities of a project, whether there is a relationship between them, the estimated time that each activity will take, and who is going to perform each activity.

Although there are software programs specialized to make these charts, they can also be done with Word or Excel. To begin, a list is made with all the activities and their estimated time of completion.

Then, all the different tasks are considered; those that can be done in parallel (i.e., those that do not depend on other activities), and those that are sequential, that is, those that depend on others and cannot be started until they are finished.

In the actual chart, activities are entered in the rows, and the timing in the columns. If more than one person is involved in the project, different colors can be used to visualize the activity corresponding to each person.

Using the Gantt chart has several advantages, one of them is to motivate the people involved in the project since they can clearly see the life of the project in perspective and understand why some activities have to be done before others.