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Project Management: Gantt Chart and CPI
By Larry Gunter

How does a Gantt chart helps communicate project progress?

A tracking Gantt chart depicts progress by the amount of time each task takes. This progress is the calendar dates for the project, a department task or even an individual task(Russell, 2007, p. 142). Using the tracking Gantt chart helps provide critical project information to the project manager, the project stakeholders and any interested person in the project. The adjustable nature of the chart allows for changes in resources, constraints in costs and personnel turnover. The structure of the chart also allows for consistent reviews when addressing progress of the project during various stages. The ability to show the task status on the chart and the resources assigned will allow communication to be more efficient when necessary.

How does a Project Manager would use the cost performance index (CPI)?

The cost performance index is used to determine if a project’s actual costs is on track, under budget or becoming a cost overrun(Gray & Larson, 2008, pp. 434-435). The project manager can use the performance indicator to determine if the project is on schedule or running behind or ahead of schedule. The CPI can also help a project manager determine by how much the actual cost is out of balance. This valuable information can then be used to determine a corrective action to bring the cost back into alignment with the projected amounts. If the CPI is running ahead of schedule than an adjustment of the project schedule would be necessary to recalculate cost savings on tasks or deadlines. The eventual costs can also be used to determine if a risk response plan is necessary to minimize the overages on the final costs of the project(Gray & Larson, 2008, p. 205).

References:

  • Gray, C., & Larson, E. (2008). BUS 517: Project management, The managerial process: 2009 custom edition (4th Edition ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
  • Russell, L. (2007). 10 Steps To Successful Project Management. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

Larry Gunter, MBA is a Training Development Consultant at Verizon Wireless. You can read more from Larry on his blog, and you can contact him via his LinkedIn profile.

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