A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of project activities data in the form of horizontal rectangles. The rectangles represent the start and end of project elements. They show the organization of elements and their relationship. They are also used in the realm of information technology to representation data collection, and in other sectors to represent procedures.
Gantt charts are named after the American engineer who popularized them, however, many credit a Polish engineer, Karol Adamiecki, with creating them. Adamiecki was interested in management methods, ideas, and techniques; so he devised a visual method for organizing and representing work.
Gantt charts are produced by designing a schedule chart which uses a left-side vertical axis for the activities, and a horizontal axis above for the intervals of time. The lengths of its rectangles represent the time allotted or projected for tasks, and also the actual duration of the tasks when performed. The relationships between activities are also noted on each bar. An example of this would be if one activity cannot begin until another is completed, or if an activity cannot start until another starts.
Gantt charts are heavily used in project management, but they also have applications in any other area involving scheduling. They are employed in producing employee shift schedules and in producing process schedules. In the age of prominent project management techniques, like AGILE, Gantt charts are critical. They are also critical when software plays an important role in project management and general operations. Software is employed not only to design and track project schedules, but also to provide valuable business metrics. Globalization and many other factors have made business intelligence much more critical than before. Time management, project length estimates, cost management, ROI, and many other important aspects of business now receive more attention; and tools like Gantt charts are instrumental in analyzing the related metrics.