How many times have you started a project only to find yourself faced with task delays that ultimately force you to restructure the entire project?
That’s why you have fantastic proven tools like Gantt charts to track your project progress across a timeline.
There’s a slew of online Gantt chart creation software that can help, and a free option that comes up often is Google Sheets.
But have you actually tried to create a Gantt chart from scratch on a Google Sheet?
That’s exactly what you’re going to see in this article. We’ll also have a look at creating a Gantt chart on monday.com to see if it’s a worthy alternative.
What is a Gantt chart?
A Gantt chart is a visual display of your tasks or activities against a timeline. It is a useful tool used in project management to organize, plan, and execute projects of all sizes and complexities.
Here are a few benefits to using an online Gantt chart:
- Makes task management easier by giving you a visualized project timeline
- Displays your project schedule and allows you to track progress in real-time.
- Helps the project planning process by flagging critical tasks and updates.
- Helps your team stay on the same page, understanding task dependencies and the project plan as a whole.
What are the components of a Gantt chart?
Every Gantt chart looks different, but the following are some commonly recognizable components.
- Tasks: The activities that make up a project. Each task can be broken down into sub-tasks, if needed.
- Time: The duration of each task represented in days, weeks, or months.
- Owner: The person who is in charge of the project (there can be more than one).
- Status: Represents which stage of the project the task is at or the percentage complete it is.
- Milestones: Major events throughout the project as well as the start and end date of each project.
- Dependencies: Relationships between tasks. For instance, some tasks cannot begin unless another is completed.
How do you make a Gantt chart in Google Sheets?
Many companies rely on Google Sheets because it allows you to build a Gantt chart for free and is relatively easy to understand and get started with.
Unlike a Microsoft Excel Gantt chart, you can easily share a Google spreadsheet with your team, allowing for better collaboration.
Keep in mind that Google Sheets is not actually a Gantt chart tool. So while you can use it for this purpose, it doesn’t have all the features or the ease of use provided by Gantt chart software.
We wouldn’t recommend using Google Sheets or Excel for your Gantt chart creation. Creating dependencies, updating progress, and making changes gets really messy, really fast. Plus, Gantt charts made from a spreadsheet usually aren’t the easiest on the eyes.
But, if you’re set on using it, we’ll take you through the necessary steps of creating a simple Gantt chart using Google Sheets.
We’ll first create a stacked bar chart with your data and then customize it to generate a Gantt chart.
Step 1: Prepare your project data
Create a new Google spreadsheet and type your project data into 3 columns.
Each row will list a task description, alongside each task’s start date and finish date, as seen in the image below.
Step 2: Create a new table to calculate task duration.
Next, you’ll need to calculate the number of days between the start and end dates of each task.
To do this, you’ll:
- Create a new table several rows below and copy over the list of tasks in the same order.
- Make two new columns, Start Date and Duration, as seen below.
- Calculate the Start Date for the second table by finding the difference between the start date of each task and the start date of the first task in your table.
- Use this formula: =INT(B2)-INT($B$2)
- Drag and drop the same formula for the rest of the cells by clicking on the tiny blue square at the bottom right of the cell.
- The start date for each task will be calculated for the remaining cells in the column. Using the $ sign ensures that you are referencing the B2 value, which is the start of the first task in your table.
- The next step is to calculate the Duration of each task.
- The formula is slightly more complicated to work out. It’s basically the
[(Current Task End Date) – (First Task Start Date)] – [(Current Task Start Date)-First Task Start Date)]. It should look like this: =(INT(C2)-INT($B$2))-(INT(B2)-INT($B$2)
- Select the cell and drag down to apply the formula to the rest of the cells as done above.
- If you’ve done it correctly, the column should now display the Duration of each task.
Step 3: Create a stacked bar chart
Now that you have your data, including your task name, start date, and Duration, it’s time to create a stacked bar chart and then customize it to create your Gantt chart.
- Select the calculation table and click on Insert > Chart.
- You’ll see a stacked bar chart titled Start Date and Duration.
- Click on the chart and click on Edit Chart, which can be found by clicking on the top right corner of your chart. Choose the Stacked bar chart option from the displayed list.
Step 4: Customize the stacked bar chart to create your Gantt chart
- Select Series from the Customize tab in the Chart Editor
- Choose Start Date in the Apply to All series menu.
- Choose None under the Color option.
There you have it, you’ve now created your Gantt chart with Google Sheets! It should look a little something like this:
Is there an easier way to make a Gantt chart?Making a Google Sheets Gantt chart might make sense if you’re just trying to show the plan for a simple project with a small number of tasks. But, updating can become a huge time suck, especially as the size and complexity of the project grows.
Fortunately, there is a quicker way to create a Gantt chart using project management software!
Let’s see how we can create one using monday.com:
How do you make a Gantt chart with monday. com?
It’s super simple to create your Gantt chart on monday.com
All you need to do is:
- Log into your account. Create a new board and add your list of tasks.
- Give every task a time period by adding a ‘task timeline’ column to your board.
- Fill in all your data.
- Select ‘views’ and the Gantt view.
Congratulations 🥳 you should now be able to see your project timeline in a few clicks.
No messy formulas and it’s so much prettier!
Here are a few additional benefits of using monday.com’s Gantt charts.
monday.com allows you to view your project progress in different chart views. You can easily create new boards, assign tasks, add team members, and view everything, all in one dashboard.
You can set up notifications to alert team members when there is an upcoming deadline, or when you’ve hit a milestone, etc. Automating your processes helps keep track of your project so that you can take action when a task is completed or stuck.
Collaborate and communicate
monday.com allows you to centralize all team communication within the same platform by showing you who’s working on what task.
To make collaboration easier, there are several handy features like the conversation panel that allows team members to communicate with each other on tasks. You can also leave comments and post updates for your team in the Infoboxes.
How do you decide on the right Gantt chart software?
Gantt charts are not only a great project data visualization tool, they can also bring your team together to hit deadlines and achieve goals.
The needs of every business are unique and, ultimately, it comes down to your priorities.
You might prefer creating a basic Gantt chart in Google Sheets that does the job.
Or you may want an intuitive and visually pleasing Gantt chart with added functionalities such as customizable templates, app integrations, and in-app communication (like ours!).
At the end of the day, you’re looking for a solution that can help track your project across timelines. You also want your team to collaborate and communicate better.
Create your own Gantt chart, easily
Now that you’ve seen how to create a Gantt chart on monday.com, you’ll probably notice how much more time-consuming and laborious the process is on Google Sheets.
If you feel that that convenience and functionality are worth paying for, then monday.com will give you the best bang for your buck.
Want to track and organize all your team’s work in one place via our fantastic Gantt chart? Give monday.com a go.
You can also check out our Team Task Management template for free, and see how easy it is to view it as a Gantt chart and use it to manage your team.