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A brief history of Gantt Charts
Work Management
Last modified date

Oct 18, 2022

What is a Gantt Chart?

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Laurențiu Bancu

Blog average read time

2 min

Last modified date

October 18, 2022

If you are not a project manager expert, you may ask yourself: what is a Gantt Chart?

A Gantt Chart is a technique used in project management to plan activities and track project schedules, the most helpful way to display tasks and activities against time.

The Gantt Chart definition in simple words: a project chart that tells you what needs to be done and when.

If you are looking for a tool to help you with task prioritization and subtasks, check this list of task management programs.

On the left side of the chart is the list of tasks and activities, while on the right is the timeline. Each activity is displayed on the timeline by a bar that represents the duration of that activity.

Gantt Chart

The Gantt Chart offers answers to basic and essential questions like:

  • What needs to be done?
  • When does a task start, and when is it scheduled to be completed?
  • When does the project start, and when is it scheduled to be completed?
  • Which activities overlap, and what are the connections between tasks?
  • Who’s the person responsible for a task?

Start your free Paymo trial to test out the Gantt Chart feature on your own projects.

A brief history of Gantt Charts

Karol Adamiecki is the person who, in the mid-1890s, invented a diagram that he later called “harmonogram.” (similar to the actual Gantt Chart). Adamiecki published his works in Polish and Russian. These languages were less known in the English-speaking world. This limited both its adoption and recognition of his authorship.

In the meantime, though, Henry Laurence Gantt, an American engineer and consultant has been popularized in the west a similar method (publishing articles on it in 1910 and 1915). Therefore Henry Gantt is considered the inventor of the Gantt Chart (hence the name).

Henry Gantt and Karol Adamiecki

Henry Gantt and Karol Adamiecki

The first significant application of Gantt charts was by the United States. This happened in 1917 when General William Crozier retained Gantt as a consultant on production, first at the Frankford Arsenal (a former US ammunition plant) and then, after the declaration of war, in the Ordnance Department at Washington.

In the beginning, Gantt Charts were prepared by hand and had to be redrawn each time the project changed.
Starting with the 1980s, personal computers allowed the creation of advanced Gantt charts. Meanwhile, they addressed one of the biggest problems: the continual changes that led to redrawing the chart every time.

Online Gantt Charts can be found either in Gantt Chart software or as part of project management software.

Interesting facts:

“Gantt” is an unusual name. There are many misspelled alternatives: “gannt chart,” “ghant chart,” “gaant chart,” “gnatt chart,” “ghantt chart,” “ganntt chart,” “ghannt chart,” “gantchart,” or even “gaunt chart.”

Why are Gantt Charts useful? Gantt Charts are so famous in today’s project management is not accidental. There are four essential uses for these charts.

  1. Planning and scheduling your projects – who will do what, when we start, and how much time it will take to complete the job.
  2. Better visualization and explanation of your project – through its intuitive design, everyone involved will understand what’s going on without training.
  3. Monitoring the project – this is one of the most complex and somehow difficult parts of Gantt Charts (because it requires constant attention and schedule adjustments) that allows you to see if your project is on schedule or not. There’s no better tool out there for monitoring project progress.
  4. Make project adjustments – the initial plan will probably need many adjustments, and the Gantt Chart allows you to make these adjustments easily.

Found this article helpful? Please spread the knowledge and share it with your teammates and followers.

Laurențiu Bancu


Laurențiu started his marketing journey over 18 years ago and now leads a marketing team. He has extensive experience in work and project management, and content strategy. When not working, he’s probably playing board games or binge-watching mini-series.

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