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Chart of the Month – December 2008 – Gantt Chart Variation

Gantt charts are used to present the sequence and timing of activities and tasks for a project. The activities and tasks are typically displayed as lines spanning a period of time with icons to show events and milestones. The sequencing is usually a vertical list of activity/task descriptions with the timeframe displayed on a grid on the right.

The gantt chart alternative shown here is a little different and not used as often, although it provides a superior layout for certain types of information. This layout can be very effective at displaying blocks of activities (but not the individual tasks associated with the activities) in a manner that shows activity interconnectedness, sequencing, and continuity both vertically and horizontally. The overall project is easier to comprehend because the visual display is more vivid – the layout of the blocks tell the story instead of relying on just text.

To produce a high-quality gantt chart like this, begin with a gantt chart framework in Series TI001 in the Timing Category. Then turn use the Snap objects to other objects feature in the Grids and Guides menu. Draw your blocks and snap them to the gantt chart partitions and other activity blocks. Use colors and a legend to add another layer of information that is not easily accomplished in more traditional gantts.

The next time you have to present an overall plan for a project, consider using this gantt layout. Then plot the tasks for each activity block as a more standardized gantt chart.

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