A Gantt chart is defined as a visual aid that provides a clear overview of the project schedule and can often be found posted on the walls of project offices (Gray & Larson , 2011, p. 177). The purpose of a Gantt chart is to communicate the project’s activities, start and finish dates, task and project costs, and resource assignments and dependencies to the customers, stakeholders and team members. It is a widely used project management tool and is invaluable in communicating a wealth of project information. At a single glance, a Gantt chart allows the project manager to determineand communicate the status of the project to any interested party. It shows the same tasks, resources, milestones, dates, and time estimates as does the critical path diagram, but it arranges them differently. That is, it depicts progress in relation to time (Russell, 2007, p. 142)
Summary of the Article
The selected article, “Project Management: Overdue and Overbudget, Over and Over Again;”is from The Economist website. The article explores major historical projects which were carried out and which, upon completion, had cost overruns and were completed behind schedule. The author gives the examples of the Railway from Liverpool to Manchester, which cost 45 percent more than was budgeted for and was delayed for several months, the construction of the Wembley Stadium, whose cost almost doubled, and the construction of the oil pipeline from Azerbaijan’s Caspian wells to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan project, which went 10 percent over budget and was completed later than scheduled.The article also presents the value of using the project planning tools available forproject managers and the importance of linking the five phases of project management; initiation, planning, execution, control and closure,in the course of a project.
The main preoccupation of any manager during the execution of a project is to ensure that the project is completed within the constraints of time, budget and scope. Various project management tools are available for this. A Gantt chart is a tool which is used to ensure that a particular project is completed within schedule, on budget and with minimum scope change. This article presents a collection of projects that failed to be completed on time, or within budget or failed to meet their scope for the reason that the project managers failed to make use of proper project management tools which would have minimized this. A Gantt chart would have been a more apt tool to assist in the completionof the projects within the specified constraints of time, budget and scope.
Article 1: “Is the Gantt Chart Dead or Just Another Victim of Tool Disease?”
ProjectTimes. Retrieved from:
Emond (2007), in this article, looks at the relevance of the use of Gantt charts in the present-day project setting. He states that the use of a Gantt chart has attracted many opponents who consider it dangerous. The article adds that in various surveys conducted, the use of Gantt charts has been labeled as having close to no value, or having completely no value in facilitating the respondentsmanage their projects.
Article 2“Should You Use A Gantt Chart To Manage A Project?” TASKEY Planning and Implementing Online. Retrieved from: http://www.taskey.com/resources/related%20articles/gantt-chart.aspx
This article discusses the debate amongst project managers about the usage of Gantt charts for project planning, and whether there exists a middle ground. It addresses the question of whether the use of Gantt charts is the best decision for project managers. The author, Matthews, gives a brief highlight of some of the problems that managers face while using the Gantt chart, such as its cumbersome method of plotting project activities, which is too detailed to manage on a practical level, and the conviction that a Gantt chart only gives the project manager half the picture due to the many dependencies. The author also presents a case for the use of Gantt charts as alleged by other managers, highlightingbenefits such asits ability to plot dependencies between different tasks, and its benefit of giving the project manager a good understanding of the impact that a particular delay would have on the project.
Article 3: “The Cost of Bad Project Management” Business Journal GALLUP.Retrieved from: http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/152429/cost-bad-project-management.aspx#2
This article by Hardy-Vallee (2012) tries to quantify the cost that can be attributed to bad project management. The author highlights the main reasons which have commonly been blamed for project failure and briefly proposes solutions to some of these failures. The author attributes project failure primarilyto the over reliance by the project management team on “the process itself” and on project management tools such as the Gantt chart . He opines that the most effective way to reduce the chances of project failure is through the use of an approach he refers to as Behavior-Based project management.He states that this approach promotes emotional dedication and commitment as well as performance from the project team members, resulting in an improved performance and engagement.
This article discusses the challenges that managers face while ensuring that there is collaboration in a team and every team member is on the same page and is in the loop. The author,Haselmayr, suggests five tools which she opines help in ensuring that the type of collaboration in the team is best suited for the project. These tools, he outlines, arethe Kanban Chart, The To-Do List, The All-Encompassing Collaboration Suite, The Social Network and the Gantt chart. The article states that a Gantt chart is for time-sensitive and calendar-based projects and adds that they are most effective in projects that are based on a timetable as they allow the project manager to stay well within the schedule and also maintains an overview of the progress of the project.
Emond, C. (2007, September 13). Is the Gantt Chart Dead or Just Another Victim of Tool Disease? Retrieved July 4, 2014, from ProjectTimes: http://www.projecttimes.com/is-the-gantt-chart-dead-or-just-another-victim-of-tool-disease.html
Gray, C. F., & Larson , E. W. (2011). Project Management: The Managerial Process. McGraw Hill.
Hardy-Vallee, B. (2012, February 7). The Cost of Bad Project Management. Retrieved July 4, 2014, from Bussiness Journal GALLUP: http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/152429/cost-bad-project-management.aspx#2
Matthews, S. (2013). Should You Use A Gantt Chart To Manage A Project? Retrieved July 4, 2014, from TASKEY Planning and Implementing Online: http://www.taskey.com/resources/related%20articles/gantt-chart.aspx
Russell, L. (2007). 10 Steps to Successful Project Management. New York: American Society for Training and Development.
The Economist Staff. (2005, June 9). Project Management: Overdue and Overbudget, Over and Over Again. Retrieved July 4, 2014, from The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/4065653
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