Gantt Chart Project Management: Benefits, Templates, Tools (2021 Guide)

Gantt Chart Project Management: Benefits, Templates, Tools (2021 Guide).

Managing projects without Gantt charts is like trying to find something in an overstuffed suitcase. You might still find what you’re looking for, but not without wasting some valuable hours first. ⏰

So why take that risk? 

Try Gantt chart project management instead!

And if you want to learn the ropes, you’re in the right place. 

In this article, we’ll look at what Gantt chart project management is and its key benefits. You’ll also find handy Microsoft Excel Gantt chart templates along with a superior alternative to them. 

Ready to explore the world of Gantt project management? 

Let’s go!

What Is Gantt Chart Project Management?

A Gantt chart graphically represents all the tasks, outcomes, and deliverables in an ongoing project. With one, you can find out how much work your team has completed and what is remaining. 

This makes Gantt charts an effective tool for project planning

Its best use is to find overlapping tasks and project phases so that you can see everything, every time. 

Everything?

woman saying everything

Bonus: What is a Gantt chart and how do you use it?

3 Key Benefits of Gantt Chart Project Management

Clearly, we love Gantt charts. 

But this fandom is based on some hard evidence. 

Here are the top three reasons why you need to use Gantt charts for managing your projects: 

1. Get a complete overview of your project

You know that nagging feeling when you sit down to work but think you’ve forgotten something?

Eats into your focus, right?

You can avoid feelings like this with a Gantt chart in hand. It shows you everything in your project plan in one glance, so you never feel like you’ve missed anything. 

Kinda like a to-do list for multiple projects that just updates itself.

Take that, sticky notes!

2. Track project progress in real-time 

Today, you can track your cab ride and fast food delivery in real-time. 

So why not do the same for your project schedule?

Gantt chart is like a geo-tracking device for your project. 

Feed it with information on project activities, update it a few times, and off it goes on its own. 

In fact, a Gantt chart takes it one step further by telling you the critical path for your project schedule. This is the minimum set of tasks you’ll need to complete to meet your project deadline. 

3. Maintain project transparency 

The Gantt chart was originally a project management tool used by managers to make high-level decisions. 

However, modern Gantt charts are an essential tool for all members of a project team. 

Project managers can routinely update and share a Gantt chart with the project team. This lets every member see how they’re working together to achieve the same results. 

In other words, it’s the most reliable way of showing everyone the big picture and helping everyone feel on board. 

To sum it up, having a Gantt chart for your project management is as important as carrying a map on your road trip. 

As long as you know how to read it.

man reading map

One way to map out your Gantt charts is with a Microsoft Excel Gantt chart template:

3 Excel Gantt Chart Project Management Templates

Let’s face it. Creating a handy project management Gantt chart from scratch can be quite a handful. 

Instead, just pick one of these Microsoft Excel templates to kickstart your Gantt chart project management: 

1. Detailed Excel Gantt chart template

Add the names of responsible project team members and let this Gantt chart tool calculate each task’s progress percentage.

excel gantt chart

Download this free Gantt chart template.

2. Basic Excel Gantt chart template

When in doubt, keep things simple. This basic Gantt chart tool template shows only the most essential information for each task in your project plan.  

excel gantt chart

Download this free simple Gantt chart template

3. Excel Gantt chart template for priorities and task dependencies

Looking for more functionality in your Gantt chart? 

This template can help you prioritize specific tasks in the project plan and even display dependencies between them. 

excel gantt chart template

Download this free Excel Gantt chart template.

3 Limitations of Working on Excel Gantt Charts

We can stare at an Excel spreadsheet all day long. 💕 

And we think that some of the best ideas are born in those cells. 

However, there are some obvious issues that we can’t ignore. 

1. No task management functionality

You’ve created the world’s best Gantt chart and even won the award for being the smartest Excel wizard in your team. 

But what next?

Nothing. 

You can’t use that chart to: 

  • Assign those tasks to your team members
  • Automatically adjust dependencies and calculate critical paths
  • Track live project progress

Bottom line: Excel is great for static Gantt charts, but nothing beyond that. 

2. Lacks communication features

Unlike live editing software like Google Sheets, your team members won’t be able to collaborate on the Gantt chart simultaneously unless every collaborator has OneDrive or SharePoint, as well. 

More often than not, you’ll have to download and send it to them after each edit! 

And that’s gonna be chaotic. 

What’ll happen when you receive 20 versions of the same Excel file via email?

man looking at letter

3. Time-consuming maintenance

Remember how the critical path method in Gantt charts was all set to save you time?

Well, get ready to waste all that saved time managing those Gantt charts. 🙄

Templates or not, Excel Gantt charts are hard work

And we wouldn’t wish it on our fiercest competitors!

Fortunately, Gantt chart project management is a breeze with online Gantt chart software.

Effortless Gantt Chart Project Management on ClickUp 

The Gantt chart is a canvas for your project management artistry. It’s where you’ll shine brightest. And the only tool you’ll need is a powerful project management software to help you along the way.

*drumroll*

Presenting ClickUp: the world’s highest-rated project management tool used by small and large companies worldwide. 

ClickUp outperforms any other software in task management, resource management, time tracking, and other project management areas. 

What about Gantt charts? 

That’s the reason you’re here, right?

ClickUp’s Gantt Chart view is everything you’ll ever need. 

Here’s how easy it is to add an interactive Gantt chart to your Workspace in ClickUp:

  • Select the + sign in any task List, Folder, or Space
  • Select Gantt
  • Give it a name
  • Choose to make it a Personal chart
  • Pin the view for quick access
gantt chart menu in clickup

And now for the fun part… customize your basic Gantt chart!

The chart’s task bar on the side lets you select what data you want to view. Choose from Spaces, Folders, and Lists from the entire project to pick and add specific project tasks to the view. 

If you can’t see a task or subtask on the chart, add a due date for it, and it’ll show up in the online Gantt chart. 

gantt chart due date in excel

Next, draw lines from the predecessor task to show task dependencies

Managing project dependencies is now like drawing lines on a whiteboard!

gantt chart dependencies

If you enable Reschedule Dependencies, you can use the same drag and drop motions to change dates for the task Dependencies. Even an entire group of project tasks can be rescheduled this way as a List, Folder, or Space. 

Talk about multitasking! 🤩

Wondering how close you are to achieving your goal? 

Determine the progress percentage of your project schedule by hovering over the progress bar. 

This Gantt chart software calculates progress by dividing the number of project tasks completed by the total number of tasks. 

gantt chart progress percentage in clickup

And now for your critical path

Calculate it by:

  • Opening the Gantt view
  • Clicking on the Path Calculations icon
  • Toggle on Critical Path   
  • Toggle on Show Slack Time   
gantt chart critical part

But in your pursuit to meet the deadline, don’t miss out on the biggest Milestones

You’ll see them as little diamonds on the online Gantt chart.

Right-click any task and select Mark as Milestone to turn it into a diamond too. 

This is the Midas touch you need, don’t you agree?

gantt chart milestones in clickup

Now that you’ve added all the important details to your online Gantt chart in ClickUp, you can change how they appear. 

In the menu bar on top, you’ll see a Show option. 

Click on it, and you’ll see a dropdown containing:

  • Hide Weekends: automatically schedule all tasks scheduled on the weekend to the following Monday
  • Reschedule Dependencies: enable the drag and drop functionality to reschedule task dependencies
  • Allow Live Updates: instantly update all team members about any changes
  • Highlight task position on drag: see individual tasks you’re moving around more clearly
  • Columns: enable and disable columns on the online Gantt chart
  • Other Sorting Options: sort tasks by assignees, due dates, last updated, etc.
gantt chart sorting options

For the finishing touches, use different color schemes to show different priority levels. 

And to wrap things up, ClickUp is all about sharing and caring. 

Share the online Gantt chart directly with people in or outside your Workspace. Adjust their permissions to change who can and can’t edit the chart. 

Public Sharing will live update the chart for its viewers. 

Or download the document as a PDF and circulate it among external stakeholders. 

download gantt chart

If a simple online Gantt chart can be that comprehensive, imagine what else is in store for you in ClickUp?

Here’s a list of some of our favorite features for now:

Your Gantt Chart Software Hunt Ends Here!

Have you ever wanted things to magically move forward in a project? 

A Gantt chart is your best bet to achieve that. 

It takes care of task dependencies, communication, workload, and much more, almost single-handedly. 

It’s like your project’s very own fairy godmother!💫 

So why would you want to tie it down with a restrictive tool like Excel?

Let your Gantt charts (and projects) fly on ClickUp! 

Everything on ClickUp is right out of a project management fairy tale, from time management to content creation. 

We know because we wrote it. 😎

So get ClickUp for free today to spell your way to successful project management!

harry potter marauders map

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