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Simple Gantt Charts With Complex Data?

Gantt Chart

Gantt charts are there to make project and resource management simple.

A visual planning tool that’s easy to comprehend. They are beloved for the worldwide for the simplicity they bring to project planning and scheduling. But, what if you have a lot of complex data to include in your plans? Are Gantt charts still the tool for you?

Yes! They can be with a little help from custom data fields.

A Basic Gantt Chart

Created more than 100 years ago, project scheduling with Gantt charts is still going strong. The #1 tool of project managers, they provide a visual overview of the project schedule, as well as every single component involved. But the best part? They don’t make it confusing!

Here’s a rundown of the basic elements of a Gantt chart:

  • Projects Dates and Timeline –  The complete project time frame is right at your fingertips. Including: milestones, task start and end dates, and project deadlines.
  • Projects and Task Bars –  The actual “meat” of the Gantt chart. These bars visually represent what projects and tasks are in the works.
  • Resources – These are the “who” of the project schedule. Resources are the people, tools, and equipment carrying out the project objectives.
  • Dependencies – These are the visual cues that show relationships between tasks. Which needs to happen first before something else can start – dependencies provide the answer.

Gantt Chart Add-Ons

Simplify your project management with easy Gantt charts.

So we have a basic chart and it’s great. But what if we want to include some additional info? Such as: project status, who the project manager is, or the project reference number. Maybe you also want to add a link to relevant documentation, such as a proposal or Google Map. As well as a note regarding the task to another project manager.

If you were using a Gantt chart template in Excel, maybe you could color some cells to book resources. And in that same area you can add the status and reference number. But the more you add, the more you realize that not everything will fit. So what do you do?

Well, if you’re emailing out this Gantt schedule, you can just add the link and the comment to the email. At least it’s there. And then just pray that the recipient actually reads your comments and attachments. I mean, it could happen…

Another option would be using custom data fields. Let’s explain.

What are Custom Data Fields?

Custom data fields are the data fields that can be customized. That’s helpful, ain’t it?! Well, in Ganttic, you can add custom data fields to all elements on the project Gantt chart.

These fields are there to contain all sorts of information that you have. Information about your resources, projects, and tasks. Kinds of information that you can not add to a Gantt chart Excel template. Information that would have to be communicated using another method if there wasn’t Gantt chart software there to help.

Just imagine that you are using drag and drop scheduling to create a simple Gantt chart. You are choosing options from drop-down menus, adding the reference number and the note. Then you click save. Sounds a lot better than before, huh?

With Ganttic, you can create a simple Gantt chart with complex data. No spreadsheets. No emails. No missing information. We’ll show you how.

Using Ganttic’s Custom Data Fields

Although you can add the same type of custom data fields to tasks, resources, and projects, the use cases can be somewhat different.

Tasks

As we described earlier, you can add all sorts of additional data to a simple Gantt chart using custom data fields. The status, the project manager, the Google map of the worksite, and so on.

The best part is, all this information you have added can be filtered out or highlighted with specific coloring coding as it is with projects.

Resources

Ganttic is great for resource management - add data about all types and create simple Gantt charts in the process.

Resource custom data fields are the most used ones. If you are staffing projects, you can add the location where the resource is based, in addition to their certifications, driver’s license types, skills, position, or even hourly rate.

But with Ganttic, resources can be anything from people to equipment. So when you have tools or machinery you can also add in a reference number, or weight class, or necessary inspection dates. Nice, huh?!

Let’s take the following use case:

Maybe you’re looking to book a piece of equipment located in Dallas.

Since you also want to keep track of the equipment, and you want the project managers to know this stuff, you can add both of those things – location and reference number – as separate custom data fields. Once any project manager clicks on the resource, they’ll know that it’s the piece of equipment in Dallas with the reference number 35750.

This makes it easy to create a working capacity plan and ensure that the right resource is booked for the job. Since they’ll see right away which piece of machinery they are booking. And not accidentally scheduling the wrong one located in New York.

All the data is there, out in the open. The manager can use it and allocate resources.

Take it a step further:

You can use the information you have added to group resources, filter them, and create all sorts of views. Views of resource allocation at a location, in a department. You can filter out a type of equipment and save what you see as a view. You see where we are going, but if you really want to learn all about planning resources for projects using views, we covered it in another article.

In addition to all this fun, you can also use resource custom data fields for calculations using reports. You can make reports calculate how much to pay to a specialist etc.

Projects

project status as custom data

Project custom data fields come in handy if you are working with some other management tools alongside Ganttic.

Let’s say the sales team just submitted a proposal for a project. It’s in the system, but you need to check resource availability. You add the project, copy the project reference number, choose the location and the department from the drop-down menu. You choose proposal for the project status and choose yourself as the project manager that’s in control of the project.

Other managers will instantaneously see if you start dragging and dropping Gantt charts to book resources for the project. The whole story can be told without Excel spreadsheets and email threads.

Take it a step further:

Project custom data fields, namely date type project custom fields, are where to go if you need to add milestones to your projects.

Just make sure the ‘Show as milestone’ button says ‘ON’, and the dates you choose for each project will be displayed as milestones on the Gantt chart area. If you are using sync to marry Google Calendar and Gantt charts, you can sync the location of the event through link type custom data fields.

And that’s not all! Remember when you chose the project status from the drop-down menu? You can assign a color to every status on the list, and you can use those colors to get a quick overview of your project statuses.

Simplify Gantt Chart Planning

Ganttic is online Gantt chart software that makes it easy to turn even the most complex project schedule into something that simple to create, interpret, and accomplish.

Sign up for a free demo and we can show you how to get started with Ganttic’s custom data fields. Amplify your planning by streamlining your work processes.

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