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)

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
What is the second month of the year?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Building a Business Case for Your Project

Ball of business documents

To get stakeholders or management to approve your project, you will need to build a solid business case. Here are the basic steps for creating a business case.

Project Management Checklists

Checklist

Checklists are underused in the planning and managing of projects. Here is a high level twelve-point checklist for use during project planning.

Helping Project Teams Succeed

Business team brainstorming using coloured labels on a table in an office

Project teams will be successful when the right environmental conditions exist; sadly this is not always the case.

Stepping Up SMART Goals

What are your goals question in vintage wooden letterpress printing blocks

Here are some strategies and six simple steps for making sure your goals will be concise, clear, and produce the results for which you are looking.

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

Leanore Medrano commented on…
Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager
- Sat 21 October 6:17pm

Keith Rickman commented on…
Reasons Why Projects Fail
- Tue 17 October 8:47pm

Shertina Jones commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Sun 15 October 5:35pm

Latest tweets

Make Me a Project Manager in 2018 https://t.co/JZ67Ij6h4I Are you embarking on your career or considering a career change? #projectsmart about 1 day ago

General Project Management • Re: Tracking Multiple Projects - Best Methods? https://t.co/tSBlMWo1rt #projectsmart #pmot about 4 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Online PM Tools https://t.co/0KnjXkO7mT #projectsmart #pmot about 6 days ago