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15 Best Gantt Chart Alternatives 2022

Gantt charts are no doubt one of the most popular project management charts. The chart lets you visualize the different tasks within your project and set timelines for each task. Also, you get to see how tasks correlate.

A Gantt chart visually displays information in a horizontal bar graph. The graph shows tasks on the Y-axis, and the X-axis shows the duration of each task. The length of the X-axis represents the entire duration of the project.

The graph helps in planning, and team members are empowered to complete their tasks on time. They can be developed using project management software, Google sheets, or Microsoft Excel sheets.

Unfortunately, using Gantt charts can be challenging at times. Adding task dependencies complicates Gantt charts making them hard to understand. Also, they are very inflexible; developing the chart requires extensive preplanning and thus makes them hard to change midway.

It’s also difficult to create them collaboratively, print, or share. In many instances, you may require to purchase project management software for complex and detailed Gantt charts, making this option expensive.

To make it easier for you, today I am going to talk about some of the best Gantt chart alternatives that you can consider for your project management needs.

So stay tuned.

Best Gantt Chart Alternatives

1. Project Timelines

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Our first Gantt chart alternative is project timelines, which give a detailed overview of the project. It clearly defines the tasks to be completed in chronological order. Also, project timelines stipulate the deadlines for each task.

The horizontal bar chart indicates the entire project with tasks and subtasks. Each task is listed, and different colors are used to identify individual tasks. Each task has a start and end date.

Project timelines contain a summary of the project’s important milestones. Unlike Gantt charts, they are easy to read and interpret, and their project timelines are easy to set up, especially when planning different projects.

Project timelines will ensure that your team has something to refer to when things get confusing. Everyone will know what to do and when to complete their task, and the team leader will not need to micromanage anyone.

Moreover, it ensures that everyone in the team works together towards a common goal.

2. Task Lists

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Task lists are a detailed summary of the project, including tasks, deadlines, stakeholders, and date of task completion. They are simple and versatile. Therefore, you can tailor them to fit your project needs.

You only need to list every project detail, so the project is laid out for the stakeholders. This helps to make the day-to-day management of the project easy.

All you need to do is create a work breakdown structure that will split the project into a series of deliverables, break down the deliverables further into tasks, and create a task list.

The simplicity of the task list puts it above the Gantt chart. You can use simple day-to-day software like MS Word or pen and paper to create a task list for your project.

A simple checklist will work for you if you have a simple project. However, if it is a complex project, then you can map out your task list into the project and resource timeline. When you do this, it will ensure that resources are always available and deadlines are met.

3. Kanban Boards

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Kanban boards are tools used in workflow visualization. They use columns, cards, swimlanes, and work-in-progress limits to display work processes and bring clarity and efficiency to the process.

The Kanban board summarizes a project into three tasks: requested, in-progress, and completed tasks. These tasks are visually represented by different components. The components of the Kanban boards are:

Kanban cards -The cards visually display each task. Each Kanban card displays information about a task, the task status, the person assigned to the task, the task description, and the deadline.

Kanban Columns – The columns represent the different stages of the workflow until full completion; this includes the different task stages, requested tasks, in-progress tasks, and completed tasks.

Work in Progress (WIP) Limits– They limit the number of tasks to ensure that the maximum number of tasks at different stages is not exceeded.

Kanban Swimlanes – The swimlanes are the horizontal lines that separate items like teams, activities, and classes of service.

Commitment Point – This is a point where a task is ready to be introduced into the system.

Delivery Point – This is the point of completion for tasks.

Kanban boards can be designed on a computer. You can share this with your colleagues to enhance collaboration. It is perfect for monitoring work progress virtually. Managers are also able to track multiple activities.

A Kanban board can also be a physical board containing a whiteboard (corkboard) and sticky notes representing tasks.

Kanban boards are easier to understand and design compared to Gantt charts. You do not need computers to create Kanban boards; all you need is a board and sticky notes, so no matter where you are, you can always rely on Kanban boards.

4. Scrum Boards

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A scrum board is a visual display of tasks to be completed by your team. Tasks are managed by breaking them down into defined sprints of time. You can display the task on a wall, on whiteboards, or on a blank backdrop.

A simple scrum has three vertical lines which break down the project into three categories; “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Completed.” Each task is placed in the appropriate category. The tasks will then be moved to the next category as necessary.

Scrum boards are very versatile. You can choose to have many categories on your scrum board as needed and add in as many tasks depending on the nature of the project. Because of this, you can use it to manage any project, whether it is short-term or long-term.

Scrum boards are very intuitive, hence straightforward to use. It also enhances your team’s creativity and productivity, making it highly efficient. Scrum boards also indicate the status of each task, so any issue that arises will quickly be addressed.

Compared to the Gantt chart, scrum boards promote collaboration between members of a team who must work together during the development of the scrum board and completion of tasks.

Also, Scrum boards do not require project management software to develop, so you do not need knowledge of the use of software to create it.

5. Project Checklist

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Project checklists are crucial for the management of both simple and complex projects. They will help you remain productive and ensure that every necessary task is noted.

To develop a project checklist, you must identify the following for your project.

  • What are the deliverables and objectives of the project?
  • What key performance indicators will be used to measure the project’s success?
  • What are your client’s expectations?
  • What is the scope, timeframe, and budget of the project?

Using the information you have obtained, create a work breakdown structure and a list of tasks. Assign the tasks to the team members, set a deadline for each task, and then use this information to create a project checklist. Check off each item after it has been completed.

A checklist is basic and easy to come up with compared to a Gantt chart. You can use your phone to devise a checklist or even list the tasks in your notebook. A checklist makes it effortless to monitor tasks and note which ones have been completed and which ones haven’t.

6. Mind Map

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A great Gantt chart alternative is the mind map. A mind map is an amazing tool for visually brainstorming a project, outlining the different concepts of the project, and basing them on the central idea.

The mind map is also a great tool to show how project items relate to one another and how they are all linked to the project’s central purpose. Thus, it helps you to understand the project in depth.

So, with a mind map, you can visualize the project’s tasks, concepts, and ideas in one image. Because the mind map is colorful and highly organized, information about the project is easily digestible, and task execution is simple.

To create a mind map, you can use mind mapping software or simply write it down on paper.

Start by writing the central idea in the middle of the page. Create branches from the central idea and link them to different core ideas. Next, connect different branches from the core ideas to other relevant project concepts.

Unlike Gantt charts, mind maps show how different aspects of the project correlate. Mind maps also show how every task is related to the central idea. It is also an excellent tool for brainstorming, unlike Gantt charts.

Besides defining the scope of a project, mind maps are effective in team management, problem-solving, and decision-making.

7. Project Dashboards and Reports

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Project dashboards and reports are tools used to track the status of projects and monitor project progress and budget. The tool provides you with an at-a-glance summary of your project.

Project dashboards and reports are designed using the project management software of Ms. Excel sheets. You will need data on tasks, workload, budget, and the project’s overall health.

What distinguishes project dashboards from Gantt charts is that they can include other planning tools like landers, spreadsheets, task lists, or Kanban boards on display.

Thus, project dashboards and reports give you an excellent summary of the entire project, including the key performance indicators. This makes obtaining progress reports and seeing arising issues and risks very easy. Hence, coming up with a holistic solution is easy and possible.

Project dashboards and reports are ideal tools for project managers, this is because they get to have a birds-eye view of the project.

8. Flowchart

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Flowcharts are diagrams used to display the various stages of a project from start to conclusion. Sequences of events are displayed dramatically from the start breaking down the project into simpler tasks.

The primary purpose of a flowchart is to help in project planning. At the planning stage, all the requirements are gathered, and the project’s scope is described.

Following this, other aspects of the project, including budgets, resources, personnel, and timetables, are defined. A flowchart is an excellent tool for defining these project stages.

A project can have different flowcharts. In addition to having a planning flowchart, you can have an implementation flowchart and a chart for monitoring and evaluation. Also, you can summarize the entire project in a project management flowchart.

There are different flowcharts, and you can choose which one is suitable for your project or the different tasks within the project.

Workflow flowcharts – This is used to visualize the workflow for ease in management. Processes and tasks assigned are included in the flowchart.

Process flowcharts – The activities of the project and their interrelation are displayed in process flowcharts.

Value stream mapping – This type is often used for production. You can create and assess material flow at the systemic level.

Data flowcharts – These describe data management, especially in computer modeling and other applications.

Swimlane flowcharts– If you wish to organize activities into groups or teams based on roles, then swimlane flowcharts are ideal. Activities are divided into columns for purposes of the organization.

Flowcharts are among the excellent alternatives to Gantt charts because they are a great tracking tool; with flowcharts, tracking the flow of resources, products, and information is easy.

9. Whiteboards

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Whiteboards are effective in project planning, especially in the brainstorming phase. They offer opportunities for team collaborations, you can even use digital whiteboards remotely.

They allow your team to be creative and productive simultaneously. It offers a break away from document-heavy practices and text-based information models.

Whiteboards are superior to Gantt charts because they are more engaging, and individuals who have different approaches to work can still work together on whiteboards. The collaborative nature of whiteboards makes them stand out from other project management tools.

With digital whiteboards, your team can always stay up to date with the latest and most accurate information about the project. This is because many consider whiteboards as living documents.

Whiteboards are versatile and can be used for practically anything. You can use it to set milestones for your project and even the road map for the project as well.

Whiteboards are an infinite canvas; you will never run out of space for your ideas, no need to start over or delete anything. Keep writing on it.

10. Dashboards

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A dashboard displays information on pages that offer real-time information about a project. The data displayed on dashboards are often graphical and display information on the project’s current status.

Dashboards contain all the key metrics of a project and help teams and project managers track the project. They can get real-time information on the project progress, task status, budget, and other key metrics they wish to monitor.

Dashboards can be simple or complex, depending on the nature of the project. Simple dashboards are the best because they are easy to read and interpret. On the other hand, complex dashboards contain detailed information on every aspect of the project.

When developing a dashboard, it is crucial to start by defining the project’s key performance indicators (KPI), getting data sources for each KPI, and then visually displaying the data for each KPI. Graphs and charts should be used to display data and make comparisons.

Some items that can be included in a project dashboard are listed below

  • Project roadmap
  • Task tracker
  • Financial widget
  • Workload widget

Unlike Gantt charts, dashboards enable team work and data from different aspects of the project can be included in the dashboard.

11. PERT Chart

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PERT is Program Evaluation Review Technique. PERT charts, also called PERT diagrams, are project management tools used to organize, schedule, and coordinate tasks.

Each task is graphically broken down for analysis. A PERT diagram has two major elements: vectors and nodes. Nodes are rectangles or circles that denote major events or project milestones.

On the other hand, vectors are those lines representing tasks. The vectors’ direction represents the sequence of an event or task completion.

An estimated time of completion is also indicated in a PERT chart. Project managers can analyze the task connections and work breakdown to assess the project’s risks and use the information to develop solutions.

You can only Gantt charts in the execution stage of the project. However, you can use PERT charts during a project’s planning and execution stages.

Additionally, PERT charts come with a formula for calculating the estimated completion time for tasks, while Gantt charts don’t.

12. Cause Effect Chart

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Cause-effect charts are often used by project managers to solve problems within a project. Once an issue arises within a project, the manager has to figure out the cause and develop solutions to the problem.

This Gantt chart alternative is ideal for problem-solving. Project managers can identify the root cause of a problem by narrowing down various causes and their effects.

A manager uses cause-effect charts to identify all potential causes that could have caused the problem.

Other terms used to refer to cause-effects charts are fishbone diagrams or Ishikawa diagrams. What makes cause-effect charts stand out from Gantt Charts is that they are ideal for identifying the causes of a problem and solving problems within a project.

13. Critical Path Diagram

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A critical path diagram is a visual representation of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. It is derived from the critical path method (CPM) used in project management. CPM is a method used in project management to analyze, plan, and schedule complex tasks.

The CPM begins by listing down tasks for the project, which serve as the foundation for the project. Following this, tasks that are dependent on one another are listed, this is referred to as the activity sequence.

A network diagram is developed, which is a display of tasks in chronological order. Use arrows to indicate dependencies. Estimate the task completion duration, then calculate the critical path for the tasks to visualize critical and non-critical tasks.

The critical path diagram indicates critical and non-critical tasks and calculates the time for project duration, a function you won’t find on Gantt charts.

A critical Path Diagram is effective for project management for planning as well as management of resources.

14. Pareto Chart

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Pareto charts are popular project management charts used by the project manager to display more information about the project. Information presented in a Pareto chart is usually detailed compared to other graphs.

A Pareto chart typically combines a line graph and a bar graph. Often, the information presented in the chart highlights problems and complications within a project and thus makes it easy to find the common reasons for occurrences. Therefore, you can devise an appropriate action to solve the problem.

You can identify problems within a project easier using Pareto charts, a feature you won’t easily spot in Gantt charts. After identifying a problem, you can make better decisions to improve the project.

15. Simple Gantt Chart

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Simple Gantt charts are a simplified version of Gantt charts. If you desired to use Gantt charts, but your only hesitation was its complexity, then a simple Gantt chart will work for you.

Gantt charts are not only complex but also difficult to maintain. Also, understanding and interpreting it may be difficult; thus, it may fail to communicate what is intended to the team members.

You can make a simple Gantt chart using simple tools like Microsoft Word or Excel. Also, a simple Gantt chart contains specific information, like the tasks to be completed and timelines for each task.

You can further color code the tasks based on teams or individuals who are meant to complete them.

Wrap Up

My favorite Gantt chart alternative is the project timeline.

It is simple to develop and contains all the crucial information, including timelines, sequence of events, and tasks, without the complications of a Gantt chart.

A project timeline is easy to read and understand, and team members and stakeholders will not be overwhelmed when developing, using, and interpreting the chart.