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Understanding Gantt Charts

Gantt charts are visual representations of tasks, time lines and task relationships based on information that's been entered into the system for a project as progress on the project occurs.

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image\gantt_symbols_1.gif

In the example above, Test Case Problem is a Summary Task, symbolized by the bold text of its description and by the solid line extending to the right of it and above the group of tasks below it.

The four tasks below Test Case Problem are indented and appear in regular text, without the bold treatment, to show that they are tasks within Test Case Problem. They're represented by a wider horizontal line with a shaded color as shown below.

image\child_taskbar.gif

In the example above, the shaded bar for the task called Document in tracking system within the Test Case Problem summary task also displays a solid line from the left side to the halfway point. This line is a percent-complete indicator showing that a Percent Complete of 50% has been entered for the task and that the team has completed two and one-half days of work for this five day task.

Each of the tasks in the example Gantt chart is connected to another task with an arrow. The direction and placement of the arrows indicates that they have a relationship defining when each should begin or finish relative to the other.

image\relationship.gif

The task on the upper left above must complete before the task on the lower right can begin, indicated by the arrow used for a Finish-to-Start relationship. See the descriptions of relationship Types in Add Task - Predecessors.

In the final task belonging to Test Case Problem, there's a milestone symbol for Test case problem complete: image\milestone_symbol.gif.

The second set of tasks in this example Gantt chart -- those belonging to Lab Setup Problem -- appear red in color, indicating that they're part of a Critical Path task. Any change to a critical path task will result in a change to the scheduled end date. Critical path is displayed by the system based on dependency calculations within the schedule.