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Why You Should Be Using a Gantt Chart (Free Gantt Chart Template)

Gantt charts can get a bad rap these days in some circles. Maybe it’s because they are associated with Waterfall in an age where so many are talking about Agile (for better or worse). Or maybe it’s because they’re just old. The fact is, Gantt charts have and will continue to persevere for a reason; they are the best way to visualize tasks or events in a chronological timeline. Many teams are rediscovering the value of Gantt charts for Agile, outside of Waterfall.

Below is a zoomed-in image of the example Gantt chart.

why-you-should-be-using-a-gantt-chart

Benefits of using a Gantt chart

To give you a clearer idea of what Gantt charts can do for your next project, here are 6 known benefits from using Gantt charts to manage your project:

1) Peace of mind

Laying out all the steps, and how they connect, give you a level of comfort in hitting your deadline or goal. Read the Complete Article

House of Quality Matrix

House of Quality Matrix
By SmartDraw.com

A House of Quality Matrix is a diagram, whose structure resembles that of a house, which aids in determining how a product is living up to customer needs. Although quite intricate, it is capable of storing a lot of information and comparing large amounts of data.

House of Quality Matrix

Typical Uses

It is best to use house of quality matrix when you are planning on making improvements to an existing product or would like to analyze a products ability to meet customer needs and compare to competition.

Best Practices

  • Identify a product. Choose a product you want to focus your House of Quality Matrix on.
  • Obtain customer opinion. Whether through surveys, opinion polls, or interviews, in order to create this matrix you must know what your customers want. Make sure that you know what they expect or want from your product and how important each aspect is to them.
Read the Complete Article

Project Identification

Project Identification
By Chuck Tryon

Introduction

The key feature of this activity is recognizing that identifying candidate projects is something that an organization should do on a regular basis, not just once each year. Further, when examining projects for approval, it is vital to also examine the resource capacities and capabilities available for assignment. It is futile to assign a major new project requiring extensive discovery of business requirements if no business analysts are available.

Project Identification proceeds Project Initiation.

Process Description

Project Identification is a repeatable process for documenting, validating, ranking and approving candidate projects within an organization.

Process Purpose

Due to the changing financial conditions within the total organization, it is necessary to establish a stable process for approving projects for initiation. This process will…

  • Validate the business reason for each candidate project.
  • Provide the base information for more informed financial commitments to projects.
  • Establish a more objective ranking of candidate projects.
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Effective Usage of the Fishbone Diagram

Effective Usage of the Fishbone Diagram
By Tony Jacowski

The most popular tool to sort out problems is the Ishikawa Cause and Effect Diagram, which was first used in 1943 Kaoru Ishikawa to sort out certain work related issues. It is also popularly known as the Fishbone diagram.

It is a visual depiction of the relationship between the causes and effects of a problem and defects. Additionally, it helps to come to a consensus on the issues, so that the project moves ahead steadily in resolution of the problems. It is very useful in the Measure and Improve phases of Six Sigma.

A major benefit is that it involves an in-depth study of the various factors that affect the process.

How You Can Use It

With the help of a tool like the Pareto analysis, you may be able to pinpoint the problem that needs immediate attention. You put this problem area in a box, which depicts the head of the fish and draw a line for the backbone of the fish. Read the Complete Article

Project Planning Process – The Gantt Chart

Project Planning Process – The Gantt Chart (#7 in the Hut A Quick Guide to Project Management)
By Manjeet Singh

A Gantt chart is a very useful project management tool that provides you with an overview of your schedule (something that the network diagram did not).

Here is the Gantt chart for the build shed project:

A Typical Gantt Chart

A Typical Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart does not show the relationships between the activities of your project. However, a number of project management software packages allow you to show such relationships on a Gantt chart providing you with an overview of the schedule, and the critical path of your project.You have now learned how to flesh out the activities involved in a project, determine the sequence of the activities, and establish a schedule. You are now ready for the next step – determining the resources that you need to accomplish your project activities. Read the Complete Article

Project Timeline – A Project Management Chart

Project Timeline – A Project Management Chart
By SmartDraw.com

Timelines are meant to show the steps of a process or project over a certain period of time. They don’t show very much detail, but they do make it easy to see when each step of the process must be completed. They shouldn’t be used to tell individuals what they need to do to reach the completion of the project; instead they show when deadlines for various segments of the process or project.

Company History Timeline

A Timeline Chart Example: Company History Timeline

Typical Uses

Timelines show a broad overview of a certain project or process and are especially useful when there is a project with many different aspects that must be completed by a certain time. It can have many different deadlines and will simplistically show when each group or individual must have his or her part completed. It can also be used to show when different steps of a process will occur. Read the Complete Article

Resource & Task Matrix

Resource & Task Matrix
By SmartDraw.com

A resource and task matrix has the ability to show each person who will be working on a project, as well as their specific, individual responsibilities. It allows all team members to know who is working on what, who is assigned to help them, and what his or her tasks are.

System Resource and Task Distribution Chart

Typical Uses

This type of matrix is not particularly useful if each person in a project has a single assignment, or when there is only one task involved in the completion of a project. However, for more complicated projects that have numerous activities and persons involved, a resource and task matrix can greatly organize and simplify the process.

Best Practices

  • Identify the project. Determine what project you will be making a resource and task matrix for.
  • Determine resources and tasks. Know what tasks must be completed throughout the project as well as who will be working on each task.
Read the Complete Article

Balanced Scorecard (BSC)

Balanced Scorecard (BSC)
By SmartDraw.com

A balanced scorecard allows a company to translate a strategic vision into action by creating metrics for the company’s Financial, Customer, Internal Business Processes, and Growth perspectives.

Balanced Scorecard

Typical Uses

Managers use balanced scorecards to communicate measurable goals and vision to a team or company.

Best Practices

  • Determine the vision. Decide what your vision or overall, eventual goal is. Place the name of this in the center of the page in some way that will draw attention to itself, (i.e.: In a bold font or inside a small circle.) After all, it is the whole point of the diagram.
  • Determine the metrics for each perspective. For each category or perspective, add specific information about objectives, measures, initiatives, and targets.
  • Connect each piece. Link each part using arrows.
  • Share. Use your balanced scorecard to communicate to your company or team what their part in the overall vision is.
Read the Complete Article

Authority Matrix

Authority Matrix
By SmartDraw.com

An authority matrix divides tasks and responsibilities for a project.

Authority Matrix

Typical Uses

Project managers can use an authority matrix to describe what tasks each team member is working on, what decisions they are responsible for making, and which team members are providing support for each task.

Best Practices

  • Determine key tasks and decisions. Make a list of key tasks and crucial decisions for your project.
  • Create a list of key team members. Make a list of key team members. Also remember to include in your matrix people outside your immediate department who may also have responsibilities or provide support and contribute to making decisions.
  • Fill in the table. Complete the matrix by noting who is responsible for completing each task and who is involved in making each decision.
  • Analyze. The matrix should make clear potential bottle necks in the project as well as point to potential cross-reporting issues and conflicts.
Read the Complete Article

The Ishikawa Diagram

The Ishikawa Diagram
By SmartDraw.com

Originally developed by Kaoru Ishikawa to visualize the causes of a specific event, it has become know by several names: Cause and Effect, Fishbone, or Ishikawa diagram. It is one of the 7 basic Quality control tools, and has become commonly used to determine components needed for a desired outcome.

Typical Uses

Anytime you would like to examine why something happened or might happen a cause and effect diagram is very helpful. It can also be helpful to show relationships between contributing factors.

Best Practices

  • Identify the process or event. Define the process to be examined.
  • Draw the backbone. Once you identify the process, draw a straight line on your page, and on the right side, draw a rectangle at the end. Write a brief description of the process in the rectangle.
  • Add a spine. Draw a line that starts on the backbone and extend it out, away from the backbone at an angle.
Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

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