Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar iconNot recorded
Adobe PDF icon

How Gantt Charts Can Help Avoid Disaster

~ By Linda Russell

Gantt chart

Having run fifteen months late on completion of a construction project, a building company incurred extensive penalty charges, which eventually led to its closure. Not having any project Gantt charts indirectly led to the company's failure.

Background

In my article Gantt Charts, Pert Charts: What Use are They? I said that Gantt charts are useful tools to help you manage better, but they won't give you all the answers. What I didn't say is that not having a Gantt chart can be disastrous: a company recently went into receivership, partly because it didn't have Gantt charts showing the critical paths on a major construction project.

Penalty Charges

The original contract for the construction of a block of flats did not include a dated project plan showing the critical path. When changes to the specification were made by the customer, no plan revisions could be produced to show how these changes would affect the project end date. The flats were finally ready for handover some fifteen months later than the original agreed end date, leading to penalty charges.

In order to contest the penalty charges, the company needed to show:

  1. The handover date specified in the contract was possible within the original specification
  2. That the end date was bound to slip because of the extra tasks and extended durations caused by the customer's changes

All they had was a series of spreadsheets listing the tasks undertaken: a new spreadsheet was created when each change was made. The spreadsheets didn't show the variances from the original plan, nor what the impact of those changes was on the project dates.

How Gantt Charts Would Have Helped

If they had created a Gantt chart at the contract stage, they would have had a baseline plan against which they could monitor their progress.

When the customer requested amendments to the specification, the company could have added in the necessary extra tasks and changed the durations of the existing tasks as required: this would have clearly shown the handover date slippage. The customer could then have been called upon to sign an amendment to contract, agreeing a revised end date.

Without these tools, the company was unable to prove that the delay was not caused by their own inefficiencies, although it could be argued that trying to manage a complex construction project without using appropriate planning tools is an indication of inefficiency in itself.

Conclusion

If you are called upon to manage a project for a customer where time is of the essence, you need to use appropriate tools, such as Gantt charts, to monitor the plan and work out the impact of changed circumstances, and communicate the changes to all concerned.


Linda Russell has an M.A. (with Distinction) in Technical Authorship, and over 25 years' experience in software implementation and consultancy.


Comments (1)

Topic: How Gantt Charts Can Help Avoid Disaster
5/5 (1)
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
1st March 2017 9:34am
Ahmad (Manama) says...
Using PMI guidelines, supporting tools, process and techniques are always a safeguard against any risk in project management.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Enter the word table backwards.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Extreme Project Management

The running back dives for the first down with the defender on his back

Three war room strategies to try when you need to bring life back to a dead project, or save an engagement that is on the brink of disaster.

The Mythical 50% Resource

Red blocks with the percent sign on a white background

Most managers of software development projects have had an encounter with a resource who is committed to their project some percentage of the time.

How to Get the Most From Your Project Team

Project team in a huddle

Project management is people management. Here's our reminder of how to make sure you get the most from your project team.

A Brief History of SMART Goals

Set your goals written on blue paper

In this history of SMART goals, I look at where the acronym came from, who developed it, what the critics say and why it has become popular.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Peter Earnshaw commented on…
Pareto Analysis Step by Step
- Tue 4 February 2:03am

Lesiba Matlou commented on…
Writing a Funding Proposal
- Sun 26 January 5:18am

Tim Rumbaugh commented on…
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
- Sat 28 December 6:48pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: How to Determine Resource Allocation https://t.co/3dnEwB6Q0Z about 4 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Best Project Management Software? https://t.co/HyQCVlHo1Y about 7 days ago

General Project Management • APM Full Membership https://t.co/O5GdicubRr about 9 days ago