How to Make a Gantt Chart

When it comes to making your team as productive as possible, you want to have all of the best tools, and that’s probably what drew you to look at Gantt charts in the first place. But do you know how to use them? Are you feeling comfortable with how they’re created and how to use all of the essential features? If you’re not so clear, then make sure you check out the information we’ve got for how to make a Gantt chart. You’ll be ahead of the curve and ready to make your chart, no matter what kind of service you use.

Gathering Your Materials

Before you start trying to create a chart of any type, you’re going to need to know the answer to a few crucial questions. These are going to help you lay out all of the information necessary to create a quality chart your entire team will need.

1. What are the deliverables that need to be made?

What things do you need to create and turn over to the client? These are the deliverables for your project, and you want to make sure you track each of them. If there are multiple deliverables you need to submit, you need them all recorded.

2. What do we need to do to get the deliverables?

What things do you need to create and turn over to the client? These are the deliverables for your project, and you want to make sure you track each of them. If there are multiple deliverables you need to submit, you need them all recorded.

3. What do we need to do to meet the deadline?

What will need to be done to meet the actual deadline that is set? Do you need to do something more extensive to meet that deadline? Do you need to push yourself a little bit further, or do you need to work with another company or another team to do it?

4. What milestones will we need to pass along the way?

How are you going to break up the deliverables to meet specific milestones? What do you need to deliver to the client along the way to get to the deliverables? These are milestones, and you want to make sure that you know when those are due as well.

5. What dependencies exist in getting the project done correctly?

What tasks need to be done before another task can be completed? Do you need the engineers to create a diagram before the next team can create a prototype? Do you need another team member to get materials before you can start on creating a pricing schedule? These are the dependencies.

6. Who is involved in getting the project completed?

Which people in your company are going to be part of your team? Who is going to help you complete everything? You need a full list of all of the people that will be working on your project so that you can figure out how to assign the different tasks.

7. What does everyone on the team need to do to get the project completed?

Finally, what are you going to assign to each of your team members? You need to make sure that they each have a task or that you know what each of those tasks is going to be. That’s how you’re going to lay out your Gantt chart as you go.

Starting the Process

Once you’ve answered all of the questions, it’s time to start putting together your chart. But there are several different ways that you can do that. So, how do you make sure that you’re putting your chart together in the right way? It’s all going to depend on the type of service or system that you choose to use.

Creating Your Gantt Chart with Excel or Google Sheets

For the most part, Excel and Google Sheets are almost identical. You’ll get a few more features with Excel, but you’re still going to have the basics that allow you to create a quality Gantt chart. That means you’ll be able to set up the outline of what your full chart should look like, and you’ll be able to get a better idea of whether this type of chart is going to be what you need. So, let’s take a look at just what you need to do to get everything started.

Step One: Create a Chart

The first thing you have to do is create a framework for the chart. You’re not going to find an actual Gantt chart as an option in Excel charts, but you can make it work. Instead, you should create a stacked bar graph, which comes under the column section in the charts. You want the stacked bar chart to take up a total of three columns in your spreadsheet when you start, though you can increase this even further if you need more tasks.

Step Two: Create Your Information

This is where you’re going to decide on the actual title for your full chart or, rather, the title for the project that you’re creating. Each sheet will be a different project, and you can name them as such. You’ll also be able to customize your tasks down the side of the chart to make sure that each task is represented by a bar. That means you can create as many tasks as you want. You can also set up the dates that you want to monitor along the other side of the chart.

Step Three: Set Up the Dates

When it comes to this section, you’ll have to do a bit of math. That’s because recording dates isn’t as simple as putting in an actual date. You’ll have to put in numerical values. And to get dates, those numerical values start at January 0, 1900. If you want to represent another date, you will need to figure out how many days your date is from that one. Then represent that date as a numeric value in the box. You’ll then put the numeric value of the end date in as the end of each bar on your chart.

Step Four: What You Won’t Get

Now, the final thing you should know about creating your Gantt charts in either Excel or Google Sheets is that these formats aren’t going to give you all of the features you might want. You won’t get the same ability to create dependencies, and you won’t have as much freedom to customize the chart. You’re also not going to have as many abilities to lay out the different team members who are responsible or the columns that you might want to record. You’ll have only two separate columns, and you’ll need more skill and mathematical ability to set up the dates.

Creating Your Gantt Chart with InstaGantt

Okay, so you’re ready to get started building your chart, and you want to make sure you’re doing everything right. What do you need to do first? You’re going to need to gather all of the answers to the questions that we had above. Then you’re going to start going through the different steps we’re going to outline here. The good news is that creating your first Gantt chart through InstaGantt is easy. And then you’ll be able to start moving on to more advanced features and functions.

Step One: Create Your Account

The first thing you need to do is simply to create your account. You can even start with a free account to make sure Gantt charts are just what you need to be successful. The account links to Asana, so if you already have an account there, you can join everything together. From there, the system even walks you through the steps that you need to follow to create that first chart. That way, even if you don’t have this guide with you, you’re still going to know what to do.

Step Two: Create Your Project

Next up, you’re going to create the project. This is just creating an overview of the project, so you select a project that’s currently listed in your Asana account, or you can choose to create an entirely new one. Creating a project is simple. You just select to create, decide where the project is going to be stored to your Asana account, and then choose what you want to name it. Just like that, you’re going to have your first project ready for you to customize.

Step Three: Create Tasks

The next step is to create the tasks within the project, and this is quite simple. All you need to do is select the button to add a task. Once you do, you can name the task whatever you want. That allows you to customize your chart to represent all of the tasks that go into the project. If you’re going to have multiple projects, you can do that as well and assign tasks to each one. You can even copy and carry over tasks that frequently occur in your different projects, so they’re always available when you need them.

Step Four: Customize Your Tasks

This is the step where you’re going to customize each task to fit the needs that you have. You’ll be able to add subtasks, and you can name them as well. You can also set the name of the person who’s responsible for the task. You’ll even be able to establish which tasks are dependent upon the other tasks that still need to be done. This will help you to decide how the tasks are going to be completed, and then you’ll be ready to create the next task.

Step Five: Set the Dates

This is where you’re going to set up the dates that are associated with your tasks. You get to set each date yourself, and you do it in a super simple format. All you have to do is click on the chart for the start date and then click again for the end date. It’s just that easy. If you then decide that the date you set is too long or short, you can adjust it, or you can even move the entire time frame to a different date range as needed. It makes setting things up super simple.

Step Six: Customize the Table

This is where you’re going to start working with the table and designing it to match exactly what you want. You can customize which columns are shown based on what’s most important to your company, your specific project, or the tasks you’re doing. You can even set up how you want the display to be shown, how you want tasks to be sorted, and how you want them to be appropriately grouped. All of these things will help you get the table to work for your needs.

Step Seven: Customize the Lookize the Table

The final step is to customize everything to match your preferences. You get to decide what color you want everything to be, for example. You also get to determine just how you like to organize everything and set up your tasks. Everything you do will allow you to create Gantt charts that you want to use. It’s the best way overall to create this type of chart. Even though you can use Excel spreadsheets and also Google Sheets, you will get a much more detailed and customizable option if you go with the InstaGantt chart system instead. You’ll get something much higher level.

Conclusion

In the end, it’s not going to be difficult for you to create your Gantt charts. Whether you have a free system or you’re looking to just get started, you want to make sure that you know the process. You also want to make sure that you are optimizing everything about the process. A Gantt Chart could be the best thing possible for getting your team on track and making sure that your projects are executed appropriately. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to start using Gantt charts? Or are you going to keep trying to use the old systems that haven’t worked before?

Our Gantt chart software is great for project managers, marketing professionals, social media and community managers, freelance workers, IT managers, developers, designers, wedding planners, contractors, you name it! We’ve built our software thinking of the features will undoubtedly need when successfully running a project from start to finish. So give it a try, now!

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