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Detailed planning – The Gantt chart

Graphical representation of the plan

The Gantt chart is a bar chart representation of all the activities required to produce the final product.
The work breakdown structure is merely a list of tasks with no interdependencies.
The work breakdown list should be put together with additional detail such as responsibilities and durations.

The Gantt chart provides an easy visual assessment of the overall activities of the project.
It will show task durations, start and end dates as well as dependencies.
It is also easy to modify the format to view either a detailed version or just the rolled up high level tasks.
It is possible to see resource allocations and other data by modifying which data fields are visible.

Linked projects can be updated automatically as necessary.

Automated packages

Computers and software are extremely useful in putting together the schedule.
Although many packages exist, Microsoft Project seems to be the package of choice throughout major industries.
Any further reference will be to this package.

However, the use of software must be tempered with the requirements of the project.
The generation of a lot of data, just because it exists can be positively detrimental to a project.

The use of software for presenting report data should be thought about carefully and agreed.

Allows easier ‘what if’ scenarios

Computerisation allows easy access to ‘what if’ scenarios and multiple ways of looking at the project data.
It becomes very easy to see what may happen if specific changes are made to the project.
The fact that the software will automatically update task links across the project is very useful.
It becomes much easier to monitor the critical path and other aspects in this manner.