A Gantt chart is a bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. It provides a timeline view of your project, so you can better manage all the tasks, people and resources in your project. You can make great use of Gantt charts as an entrepreneur simply by tracking the various timelines and projects you need to achieve to turn your idea into a winning business. Using this type of chart will force you to think and execute in much more efficient and effective ways.
Moreover, as you build out your idea and eventually build a team of co-founders and early employees, you will learn that a Gantt chart can help you see if the project your team is working on, the one with multiple tasks involved, is going as planned or not. This is because its mere structure is designed to show you how long each task will take and also mitigate potential risk or problems that you might face. Effectively, you are able to establish realistic timelines for your projects and focus on delivering strong results in the most efficient way possible.
You need to use Gantt charts for your startup because they are a powerful visual tool that will help you stay on track and understand every project stands. Do not be led into thinking that you will not have a million things to think about and do at the earliest stages of your startup. Even turning that idea into something tangible, like a prototype or an MVP, will require you to track several different items at once.
If you are unable, as the founder and creator of your startup idea, to plan, organize, manage, execute, and deliver high quality results this early on in the game, you will likely run into deeper issues down the road once your team grows. Sure, you can afford to have a small mishap or mistake earlier on in the game, but once your company is up and running, you cannot afford for one small task to bring down your productivity – or potentially your entire business! This is why it’s important to start planning in efficient ways, and Gantt charts help you do this in a simple way by visually setting timelines, breaking down big directives into small, manageable tasks, and making it easy to track your progress.
As shown in the example below, a Gantt chart is organized into sections for the sake of simplicity, team collaboration, visibility and structure. The following are four key practices in using a Gantt chart.
- Organize and group tasks together
- Use a bar diagram to represent when a task will begin and end
- Include milestones to signify the time when a key goal or deliverable is due
- Make sure work gets done in the right order by linking tasks as dependencies