How to Choose the Right Gantt Chart Creator?
Online Gantt Chart creators are the perfect tool for busy lives. With a few clicks of your mouse, your planning and resource management is done for the week, month, or even year!
Simple to learn and easy to use, the only difficulty is finding one that works for you. This article can help with that, though. We’ll give you the questions you need to ask to choose the right Gantt Chart maker for you. Only by asking the right questions can you get the right answer.
Many Questions. And Finally - Only One Answer.
Imagine all the questions you get asked over the course of a day. How are you? What would you like to order? Do you need anything else? How is the project coming along? What does our team capacity look like in the 4th quarter? Will we hit our projections? Can you come in to work on the weekend?
While some of these questions are easier to answer than others, one tool can actually help you answer some of those trickier questions. A Gantt Chart is undoubtedly one of the best ways to manage your resources and plan out your projects. And using one can be the answer to all your work (and even freetime) related questions.You’re probably familiar with a Gantt Chart. They are bar charts you can use for scheduling and managing resources, reporting or budgeting. These handy little tools have been around for more than 100 years already and are a useful, intuitive way to visualize your data and plan your work. And with modern day technology there’s a ton of online Gantt Chart creators on offer. But how to choose the right one?
Ask right questions you ask daily base when you do your planning- it helps you to find the right Gantt chart creator.
Question #1: Do you want to plan/schedule resources or manage projects?
There are 2 basic kinds of Gantt Chart software. Those that:
focus on planning and scheduling resources; and
center on managing projects.
The one you choose depends on what you want it to do. Do you want to zero-in on resource planning or project management? Or project portfolio management?
Gantt Charts which concentrate on resource planning are great if you only need them for simple scheduling. The same goes for those who are looking for a way to plan and manage all their resources in one organized location.
When you get to higher level planning like project management or even project portfolio management (PPM), then you’ll need a Gantt Chart creator which focuses on managing projects. And you can check out some more tips on PPM software here.
Figure out what kind of planning you intend to do with your Gantt Chart and let it take over from there!
Question #2: How detailed do you need your planning information?
Easy scheduling may require just the timeframe and the name of the booked resource. Sometimes you may want to add the name of the task or the project.
In higher-level resource management, you may need extra details for your resources, maybe its location. Or its specific skills and hourly rate. At some point, maybe even the size of their uniform or their favorite color.
Project portfolio management also requires some specific information about different projects: start and end dates, clients who are involved, project manager names and contacts… and anything else you need to keep your projects on track.
TIP: Think about the details of the info you need, so you can pay attention while choosing your software. The best compromise is finding a tool that lets you be as detailed as you need to be. No more, no less!
Question #3: Are you dealing with several projects at once?
If so, make certain that the Gantt Chart maker you choose is meant for project portfolio management. That way, you can keep track of all your ongoing projects and have a better idea if they are all in alignment with your overall strategy.
On the other hand, the same thing applies if you have a small team that deals with one project at a time. A tool that is meant for managing several projects at once will be uncomfortable, and you might feel overwhelmed by it.
However, what if right now you don’t have multiple projects, but you might in the future? Or what if you one day hope to grow your project portfolio? In that case, it’s best to find a Gantt planner that will grow with you and your company. One that makes it simple to plan 1,2, or 20 projects.
Question #4: How many of your tasks are recurrent? Are projects similar?
If your tasks are often recurring, you should be on the lookout for a tool that allows you to copy tasks or set an automatic recurrence. That way you don’t have to make your daily, weekly, or monthly planning sessions more tedious than they need to be. This software should save you time, not eat it up with unneeded tasks.
To take it a step further, you may even think ahead to your project needs. Do you think your projects will be similar in the long run? If so, you may want to consider software where you can save your project templates, as well as duplicate the current project.
Question #5: What are your collaborative and sharing needs?
Most Gantt Chart tools offer a chance to collaborate in some way. But keep in mind what your needs actually are. Do you need to share files? Do you need to chat while planning? Do you need to brainstorm in the application? Are simple notes enough? For some, it might be overwhelming to deal with additional features you might not even use.
Also, if you need the option for syncing with Google Calendar or Outlook, make sure they offer it.
Perhaps you need a tool that lets everyone on your team partake in the planning process. Or maybe there’s one project manager calling all the shots. Either way, you need to be able to share the plan or schedule with the rest of your team.
In that case, be on the lookout for Gantt Chart makers which allow shareability, even with non-users. This is great if you need to share plans with a client or third-party.
Question #6: Web-based or installed version of Gantt Chart planners?
For some, there can be safety concerns regarding web-based software, similar to cloud-based systems. However, usually the people behind these web-based tools put a lot of work into making sure those concerns stay concerns, and don’t turn into safety issues.
Web-based Gantt Chart software is definitely the more comfortable option, especially if you have a big team who all require access to the software. Still, if you don’t trust anybody else to keep your data safe, choose software with an installed version.
Question #7: Which reports do you need from your Gantt Chart planner?
Gantt Charts offer visibility and a great overview. However, you can make your life even easier, by taking advantage of the automatic report features many planning charts also offer. If you haven’t used them before, maybe you don’t know you need them. But once you do, you’ll know there’s no turning back from the kind of information reports can give you.
Think about whether you normally combine any monthly or weekly wrap-ups manually. If you do, be on the search for software that does them automatically. That way you can just turn them on and they’ll appear in your inbox at the interval you have chosen.
There’s no such things as stupid questions...
Only stupid answers. Or even dumber, not asking any questions at all!
If you’re in the market for a Gantt Chart creator, there are a lot of questions you need to consider and decisions you need to make in the process. If you need help considering which specific features you need from your Gantt Chart, check out our article on finding the best one for you.
Don’t let analysis paralysis get the best of you. Ask the right questions, not only to yourself, but reach out to customer support as well. Most planning software offers free trials, so even if you don’t know the answer to your questions yet, you can see for yourself what exactly you need.