Since the invention of the Gantt chart in 1910, they have become a staple within the realm of project management. They are favoured within this discipline as they excel at scheduling the most complex projects effectively, and therefore help to reduce the headache of managing deadlines. These schedules or progressions of time are usually represented by a bar, and the position and length of the bar reflects the start date, duration and end date of each activity. As a result, Gantt charts bestow their audience with immediate insight into what activities need to be accomplished and by when. Having this data to hand will encourage deadlines to be met and help to mitigate the knock-on effects that often occur when activities are not completed on time.
If your Gantt chart is built effectively, at a glance your audience can clearly comprehend:
Beyond just managing deadlines, Gantt charts are also extremely talented at visualising other data insights, for instance rotas for employees or how long it takes for individuals to hit specific milestones. Building Gantt charts with Tableau software increases their overall functionality and allows the creator to build them for more than one purpose.
This above example is a good illustration of using a Tableau Gantt chart for more than just deadlines - it shows the maximum sales for all of this particular company’s products, with the data being colour coded by the shipping mode - delivery truck, express air or regular air - and then size coded by maximum profit which ranges from 0k to 300k. At a glance, the audience can clearly see which delivery method is used the most through the 3 distinct colours, and which products are the most profitable. This particular example is regarded as a ‘non-standard’ Tableau Gantt chart as time is not actually included anywhere in the view.
Above is an example of the ‘standard’ view of a Tableau Gantt chart. It uses the same categories on the left-hand side as the previous illustration, but the key difference here is that time is taken into consideration. Each bar shows the time the order was placed, with the length of the bar corresponding to the time it took to ship, and the colour representing the delivery mode used.
You could also consider:
To further enhance your Tableau Gantt chart and provide more valuable insights, you should consider combining it with other chart types, as shown below:
Combining Gantt charts with maps (left) can help to highlight any geographical trends, especially over time within your data. They are also particularly useful when used alongside one of Tableau’s interactive dashboards (right) to expand audience insight with filtering and drill down options. This would provide users with a complete overview of activities, those responsible, due dates, and status. Having a menu of tasks at the top of the dashboard will allow users to drill down as needed to make more informed decisions. This real-time information will make planning, tracking, and managing any activity simple, with a higher level of visibility to act upon any emerging risks or changes.
Historically, Gantt charts were extremely laborious to create, but with the advent of business intelligence software like Tableau, you can create and share this type of chart in just a few minutes. After reading through this guide, you should be able to appreciate that Tableau Gantt charts are an insightful multi-purpose tool that should be considered in your data visualisation toolkit.
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Read our 'which chart or graph is right for you' guide and learn how to create the best type of chart for your data.