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How to read a gantt chart?

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I'm not a project manager myself, but I thought this is the best place to ask my question. The project manager in my company sent me something that he calls a gantt chart, which supposedly represents the project schedule. I get the big picture but there are details that I don't understand, such as the arrows moving from one horizontal bar to the other, and sometimes there are bars in red, etc...

Is there a guide that I can read that will help me understand these details? Or better yet, can someone explain to me on this website how to read a gantt chart?
asked 7 years ago by anonymous

1 Answer

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The original intent of the Gantt chart was to show the timeline of tasks only.  The modern day Gantt chart has added other features such as task dependencies (represented by the arrows), task summaries (represented by those tasks that encompass others), milestones (the diamond shapes) and others.  

So the key is to look at where the start and end of each task is on the timeline (usually drawn across the top) to tell when tasks are supposed to be started and need to finish. The ordering on the chart is also the ordering for the tasks (if you see two bars overlapping by 50%, the one starts when the other is 50% completed).

You will find more information about the various details at http://www.stdtime.com/howto/read-gantt-chart.htm and http://www.projectmanagerplanet.com/tools/article.php/3727666/Reading-GANTT-Charts-for-Fun-and-Profit.htm.
answered 7 years ago by sdcapmp (45,840 points)

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