Gantt View

Streamline Project Management with Gantt Charts

Peter Novosel avatar
Written by Peter Novosel
Updated over a week ago

The Gantt chart offers a comprehensive view of task dependencies, start and end dates, duration, and assigned team members. It is accessible through grid, card, and Kanban views.

Feature Overview Video

The primary goal of Gantt View is to facilitate efficient project planning and execution by illustrating task dependencies, durations, and project milestones.

Why choose Gantt View?

A Gantt Chart is an effective project management tool renowned for its ability to bring clarity and efficiency to project planning and execution. By visually representing a project's timeline and tasks, it transforms complex project data into an accessible, graphical format. This format simplifies the planning, tracking, and management of tasks, enabling project managers and team members to stay on top of project progress and deadlines. With its structured visual layout, Gantt Charts facilitate effective communication and coordination among team members, ensuring everyone is aligned with project objectives and timelines.

Key Features:

  • Task Dependencies: Easily visualize and manage task dependencies to ensure a smooth flow of work.

  • Timeline Overview: Gain a holistic view of project timelines, milestones, and deadlines for effective project tracking.

  • Resource Allocation: Efficiently allocate resources by identifying task durations and workload distribution.

  • Progress Monitoring: Track the progress of tasks in real-time, allowing for timely adjustments and optimizations.

Examples of When to Use Gantt Charts:

  1. Construction Projects: Gantt Charts are a cornerstone in the construction industry. When building a new structure or renovating an existing one, a multitude of tasks must be coordinated, from site preparation and foundation work to electrical and plumbing installations. Gantt Charts allow project managers to create a comprehensive timeline, allocate resources efficiently, and identify critical dependencies. This ensures that each phase of the construction project is executed in the right sequence, preventing delays and cost overruns.

  2. Software Development: In the fast-paced world of software development, Gantt Charts provide a strategic advantage. When developing a new software application or rolling out updates, numerous coding, testing, and debugging tasks need to be managed simultaneously. A Gantt Chart helps development teams visualize the project's timeline, allocate development resources, and identify potential bottlenecks or delays. This proactive approach ensures that the software is delivered on time and within budget, meeting user expectations and market demands.

  3. Professional Services Project: Professional services firms often tackle complex projects that require careful planning and coordination. For instance, in a consulting engagement to optimize a manufacturing company's supply chain operations, a Gantt Chart can be invaluable. It allows the consulting team to visualize the project's timeline, allocate resources effectively, assign tasks, and track progress. Critical milestones, such as the delivery of the final strategy report, can be identified to ensure the project stays on track and within the agreed-upon timeframe.

  4. Marketing Project: Marketing campaigns and initiatives often require meticulous planning and execution. For a product launch campaign, a marketing team can benefit significantly from a Gantt Chart. The chart helps the team lay out the entire campaign schedule, assign responsibilities, and set deadlines for various activities, such as market research, branding, content creation, and advertising. This visual representation ensures that all aspects of the product launch are coordinated effectively, from pre-launch teasers to post-launch follow-ups, maximizing the impact of the marketing campaign.

These examples showcase the versatility of Gantt Charts across diverse industries and project types, empowering teams to plan, monitor, and control projects with precision and confidence.

Creating a Gantt View

Note: You must have a Dependencies Field set up to use the Gantt chart.

Select "Gantt View" from the view dropdown to generate the Gantt View.

Working with Gantt View

From the settings in the toolbar, you can view the dependencies and due date connected. A Dependency setting in the report toolbar allows you to enable or disable dependencies in the Gantt display.

The Settings configuration popup allows you to do two things:

Enable Auto-Scheduling

Enable or disable live scheduling based on dependencies.

This option puts the Gantt View into a mode where it will attempt to place your tasks on the next available dates based on your dependency type and lead/lag day specification (when in advanced mode).

Scheduling Direction

Forward and backward scheduling approach task organization in distinct ways. Forward scheduling starts at the beginning, scheduling tasks as soon as possible based on their estimated duration and dependencies. This is the default mode for the dependency field. This ensures efficient resource utilization but can lead to early project completion.

Backward scheduling, on the other hand, prioritizes deadlines. It starts from the desired project end date and works backward, scheduling tasks as late as possible while still meeting dependencies. This minimizes inventory costs and ensures on-time delivery, but requires strict adherence to timelines and leaves less room for error. Check the Apply backward scheduling checkbox to enable this mode for your dependency field.

Ultimately, the choice between these approaches depends on the project's priorities and constraints - SmartSuite supports both to provide the flexibility needed for various types of projects.

Key Characteristics of Backward Scheduling:

  • Schedules tasks as late as possible (ALAP): Tasks are scheduled to start as close to the project's end date as possible while still meeting dependencies and constraints.

  • Mandatory Project End Date: A backward-scheduled project must have a defined end date.

  • Calculated Project Start Date: The project's start date is determined based on the earliest possible start of all project tasks.

  • Implicit Finish No Later Than (FNLT) Constraint: All tasks inherit a constraint to finish no later than the project's end date.

Backward Scheduling Process:

  1. Project End Date: Scheduling begins from the specified project end date.

  2. Task Dependencies and Constraints: Scheduling considers dependencies between tasks (e.g., Task B can't start until Task A is complete) and any other defined constraints (e.g., a task must start on or after a certain date).

  3. Task Scheduling: Tasks are scheduled as late as possible within these constraints, working backward from the project end date.

  4. Project Start Date: The earliest start date of all tasks becomes the calculated project start date.

Dependency Mode

From these settings, you can also select from the following dependency modes:

Standard Mode

Set up simple dependencies with ease using the Finish-to-start relationship. Ideal for those who need a straightforward way to link tasks without the complexity of multiple dependency types.

Advanced Mode

Access a comprehensive set of options, including all four dependency types and the ability to set lead and lag items. Designed for experienced project managers seeking in-depth control and customization over task scheduling.

Customizing Gantt View

From the reporting toolbar, you have the option to toggle a number of customizations to the Gantt View display.

Show Dependency Arrows

Enabling this will display the arrows of the relationships for the predecessors and successors.

Show or Hide Task Labels

Choose between displaying task names or keeping them hidden.

This option toggles the display of the task name on the Gantt View's surface, allowing you to quickly see which task is represented. For views with a large number of compact tasks you can toggle this option off for a more streamlined display.

Critical Path Highlighting

Toggling this option highlights tasks critical to project completion with a red shadow. Critical tasks are determined automatically based on the current dependency configuration.

Project Start and End Dates

This option toggles display of start and end markers for the project, visually timeboxing the project's timeframe.

Column Lines

You can choose to enable or disable grid lines for a clean view.

Today Line

Toggle this option to display a line indicating the current date.

Spotlights and Color Coding

Enhance visibility by using spotlights and color coding. From the reporting tool, click on the spotlight feature.

Spotlights can be configured two ways:

  • Select Field: Automatically color tasks based on the color of their selected value. You can use Status or Single Select fields in this type of spotlight.

  • Conditions: This option allows you to configure multiple spotlights, each with conditions that specify when to apply the spotlight. Each spotlight can have a defined color.

Example of Select Field spotlight:

View Toolbar Configuration

Similar to other Views, you can sort, filter, group, and adjust row size for the Gantt View. Configured options are highlighted in the toolbar.

Sharing Gantt View

Like other View types, you can easily share your Gantt View via a shareable link, with the option to customize the settings.

Display Controls

Gantt View customization options include:

  • Share all fields: Only allow users to view fields that are included in this view and restrict them from seeing all available fields in this view

  • Allow viewers to open records: If enabled, viewers can open individual records

  • Display toolbar: If turned off, toolbar with view controls will not be displayed

  • Restrict access with a passcode: Users will be required to enter a password, prior to being provided access to the shared view

Coming Soon: Exporting Gantt Chart

We are adding the ability to export your Gantt chart in several different formats, including:

  • PDF Format: Export your Gantt chart as a PDF.

  • Image Format: Upcoming feature for exporting as an image.

  • Microsoft Project: Planned feature to export data into Microsoft Project for external use.

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