A short history of Gantt charts

Gantt charts were first introduced in the 1900s by Henry Gantt. Soon after its introduction, basically all sectors adopted it. At the time, it was a ground-breaking innovation. But are we doomed and should we stick with Gantt charts forever? Gantt charts have been known for 120 years, and it is time to set them aside. Leave it on the shelf and forget about it, as you did with your old Nokia.

Why you should stop using Gantt charts

When was the last time you made a schedule for your construction project and your Gantt chart was working? Probably you can’t remember. There is a construction joke running around that you can make your Gantt chart, print it out, and then hang it in the toilet next to toilet paper just in case someone runs out of it. Every project will always require changes in drawings, resources, material deliveries, and many more reasons. With every small change you have to reschedule your Gantt chart, which is time-consuming, and then you have to inform other parties about the changes. Then you’ll realize that some of the parties didn’t receive updated information or that something happened on site again, and you’ll have to reschedule once more. Basically, the biggest problem with Gantt charts is that it is very time-consuming to make changes and inform the whole team about them.

Alternatives to the Gantt chart

Gantt charts are mainly used under the waterfall management system, which is widely used in the construction industry. For the past decades, there have been many changes and many new management systems have been introduced, for example, Lean production, Agile, Scrum, and Prince2. Each one of them has its benefits and disadvantages. Lately, Kanban boards became popular, which for some replaced Gantt charts. Toyota was the company that created Kanban boards, and they are excellent for production teams with short iterations (minutes or hours). Kanban boards usually have cards, which are then moved across the board from to-dos to ongoing and finished. Each card represents one task or job. Many platforms introduce Kanban as a new replacement for Gantt charts. But unfortunately, they are not the best option for construction projects. Because in the construction industry, you start the task and it can take days or weeks, and you always have to finish the work.

Artificial intelligence (AI) as an alternative to the Gantt chart

AI has been around us for some time. And lately there have been results. It is expected that AI will schedule the work for you, inform you about potential problems, show changes in your work, forecast your budget, and possibly do many other things. With a 360-degree camera, you will be able to record and walk around the site. AI will then understand where you are and calculate a schedule for you. Results will be represented in a Gantt chart style, but this time you won’t need to do any manual rescheduling by yourself; it will be done for you by AI. Other subcontractors schedules will also be tied into one large schedule, which is then controlled by the general contractor. Technically, any involved person will be able to see where they stand, if there have been any changes, how long tasks will take to perform, and how much time it will take to finish the whole project. Currently, there are a few construction softwares that offer these services, but they are usually meant for general contractors and are expensive. But many other construction softwares are also catching up, for example PlanUpPro.

PlanUpPro as an alternative to Gantt charts

PlanUpPro is a construction software that was built and tested on-site by construction workers and project managers. Its user interface is simple and intuitive, so that any site worker or field worker can quickly understand this app and start scheduling site work. It is designed this way so that your team has access to reliable information about when the project could be finished, how much time it would take to finish tasks, what the estimated budget might be, and more. By relying on this information, you don’t need to spend time on scheduling; instead, you have more time and can focus on site performance, finding new projects, and improving business processes. With a Gantt chart, you have to draw bars, estimate how long each task would take, and then next week reschedule everything again because nothing goes according to plan. While PlanUpPro learns from your site’s performance, analyzes different scenarios, and reschedules work for you.

Author – Emil Berzins. Follow me on 

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