Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Gantt chart

Certain project planning tools should be part of every competitive grant proposal writer’s repertoire. Among such tools are: Gantt charts, RASCI charts, SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, Red Team reviews, meta-analysis, and logic models. This post discusses Gantt charts.

Definition of Gantt Charts

A Gantt chart is a linear and sequential timeline that allows planners to visualize all of the tasks and resources entailed in a project. It is a specialized form of bar graph.

A Gantt chart:

  • Sorts tasks into related groups and sequences
  • Distills complex projects into their simpler components
  • Makes start/end timeframes explicit
  • Renders explicit many of the assumptions underlying a project
  • Clarifies relationships among the elements of a project

 

A Gantt chart requires the prior completion of at least a preliminary task analysis of the steps, sequences, and durations involved in a project. Task lists form its vertical Y-axis. Units of time form its horizontal X-axis. A Gantt chart presents the necessary, sequenced, and grouped tasks that are forecast to occur across one time scale (e.g., months) or another (e.g., weeks or days). Simpler Gantt charts use months as time units. They may span one year or several years. More complex Gantt charts use weeks or even days as time units. They tend to span less total time and to render far more detail than the simpler ones.

Alternatives to Bar Graph Timelines

Often described as a specialized type of bar chart, proposal planners do not need to create a Gantt chart using only bars. They can just as well populate a series of cells in a table with simple symbols such as X. For the purposes of preparing grant proposals, it often suffices to present months as critical units of time rather than to present a more granular and complex analysis that may be necessary to guide implementation after a proposal is funded.

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Task A1 X
Task A2 X X
Task A3 X X X X X X X X X
Task B1 X X
Task B2 X X X X
Task B3 X X X X
Task B4 X X

 

Among the uses of a Gantt chart in writing a grant proposal are:

  1. Program Designs – clarifying and refining timelines for the attainment of objectives
  2. Management Plans – presenting implementation timelines, but also presenting milestones
  3. Evaluation Plans – presenting evaluation timelines, but also presenting milestones that are restricted to project evaluation

 

Advantages and Limitations of Gantt Charts

Among the advantages of using a Gantt chart in writing a grant proposal are:

  1. It aids in allocating resources more effectively
  2. It enables setting of more accurate deadlines for deliverables
  3. It clarifies project progress/status for both implementers and managers
  4. It supports progress monitoring and facilitates creation of interim and final reports
  5. It makes explicit the time dependencies between and among tasks
  6. It provides an overview of projects from start to finish

 

Finally, among the limitations of using a Gantt chart in writing a grant proposal are:

  1. Creation of charts too large or detailed to fit in a standard page format
  2. Creation of charts too large or detailed to comply with proposal requirements
  3. Use of overly complicated timelines that impede viewers’ comprehension

 

Subsequent posts will discuss other project development tools such as RASCI charts, SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, Red Team reviews, meta-analysis, and logic models.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: