gantt chart vs. timeline - how and why to use them

BY Marbenz Antonio2 years ago9 MINS READ
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You've definitely heard the phrases Gantt chart and timeline used a lot. You’ve probably used these tools when planning your personal goals or, managing a project. However, because they are so similar, some people are confused as to which is which. But what exactly are these charts for?

When you look at the Gantt chart and timeline as a project leader, they both appear different, yet they are the same in purpose and design, somewhat like comparing a pie chart to a bar graph.

In this blog, we will discuss everything there is to know about Gantt charts versus timeline graphs, what are their purpose, how they operate, and how and when to utilize them effectively to ensure the success of your project.

What is a Gantt chart?

Gantt chart is probably the most well-known and frequently used project management tool for visualizing a project you are working on.

It is a graphical depiction of a project timeline that displays the start and finish dates, length, and dependencies of a project. The horizontal axis denotes the time that has elapsed over one or maybe more projects. Every project's activity is represented on the vertical axis. Typically, a time period will be included at the bottom of the chart so that you can see roughly how it took to finish each work and when it began or ended.

Why and When Should You Use It?

Gantt charts are an excellent method for project leaders and their teams to use in visualizing their projects. They assist project managers in understanding where they are and how they are heading, which is critical for any successful organization.

When you are feeling overwhelmed by tasks and have lost focus on a project, it is a perfect moment to use Gantt charts. They are simple to use, user-friendly, and visually beautiful. They are highly useful for task automation and tracking and reporting, which may be time-consuming when done manually. Gantt charts stand out in these areas:

Project Reporting

Project reporting enables management to analyze the overall status of a project, particularly a timeline, goals, and budget, among other things. Your investors or shareholders must understand where the project stands. Because of their straightforward and aesthetically pleasant layout, Gantt charts come in handy in this situation. They will have more precise information, plans, and expectations, as well as a better grasp of the workflow, effectiveness, productivity, and duration of the project. 

Project Tracking

Gantt charts can help in the planning and visualization of the entire project's tasks and timeframe. They assist with defining what is known as a project's proper path, which refers to a series of required actions and tasks that require the longest to accomplish. This process is also a management strategy that assists in developing the necessary activities to finish a project, calculating the timeframe for each work as well as the total duration, identifying dependencies and interdependencies, assigning and redistributing resources and people, and more.

Benefits of Using the Gantt Chart

·        You can easily explain the project strategy to your team. Communication is essential in project management, perhaps one of the most significant benefits of Gantt charts is clearer and better project communication.

·        You can plan your initial timetable. A Gantt chart may be a useful tool for developing your first project process and strategy. The primary benefit of adopting a Gantt chart as the initial point for the planning phase is that it is visible.

·        Complete projects on time. A Gantt chart is similar to a roadmap in that it shows project alternatives. It becomes simpler to deliver on time when a long-term project is broken down into smaller pieces of work. You can see the whole project and its time frame. Reaching task schedules becomes a simple process using Gantt charts. You can stay on top of how things are going if you have a clear perspective of objectives and critical dates.

·        Avoid resource overload. A Gantt chart allows you to allocate duties to various persons and coordinate team resources without overburdening people. A task is more certain to be finished on schedule when resources are effectively handled.

What is a Timeline View?

A timeline, on the other hand, differs from a Gantt diagram in that it often lacks vertical and horizontal columns. It merely illustrates the path you must take.

The timeline provides a visual representation of how the team's work connects. The Timeline View allows you to simply lay out projects and change plans to assist teams to meet deadlines. You may use this to examine how your various activities and projects interact over time.

Why and When Should You Use It?

The timeline view is for a team that works from a calendar and needs to reliably obtain a sense of how work comes together daily and quarterly, from project management and online event preparation to goal setting. Below are some examples of how your team may use Timeline view:

·        Explain the timetable to team members to stimulate their desire to collaborate on it, and keep them up-to-date as to where they stand in reference to that timetable as they progress on it.

·       Share the schedule with stakeholders so they can understand how things are progressing when activities will be done, and what has to happen ahead.

·        Communicate the project's overall conclusion, namely when it will be online, to all parties involved.

Benefits of Using a Timeline

·        It lets you choose the relevant events and plan accordingly. It provides the capacity to capture your intentions for critical activities you have planned ahead of time, such as meetings with the owner, staff members, or the project manager. This is a cutting-edge tool that will protect you by preventing you from being delayed or forgetting about a planned meeting or other critical activities.

·        It keeps you informed about forthcoming tasks. The timeline is built so you'll be able to simply follow the project's impending tasks. It is constructed in the same manner as a flow chart, with vertical bars connecting the events or tasks. It shows you which task you are performing and which one is coming up which lets you plan in advance and allows you to conduct some preliminary work or gather the needed materials to begin the next activity.

·        Easily review project details while impressing your supervisor or project owner. It's also very simple to offer a perspective of your full journey during the completion of the work that displays the basic and brief facts of each event you visited and the duties you and your colleagues completed on time, displaying the whole detailed plan.

Gantt Chart vs Timeline

The Gantt Chart vs Timeline graphically depicts the start and finish times of each work in a horizontal bar that is displayed over a period of time such as days, weeks, or months.

This graphical representation clearly illustrates each task, activity, or milestone's status in relation to other events and activities in the project.

Main Difference Between a Gantt Chart and a Timeline

A Gantt chart is a network diagram that displays process steps and tasks in a chronological manner. A basic Gantt chart contains three columns, one for every stage of your project or assignment, and rows that represent all of your activities within the phase.

The timeline view, on the other hand, is great for displaying a project management plan to stakeholders. It's simple to build and distribute, as well as simple to comprehend and update. The timeline style makes it simple to add projects, subtasks, and milestones. You may also allocate resources and associate them with task requirements.

How To Use Them?

Despite Gantt charts having more capabilities and providing greater depth of data than timelines, both are required. It's not like every stakeholder in your business has to know every detail about each project's tasks, however, they have to be able to see work progress in an instant. Timelines are perfect for this. They also serve as the ideal tool for monitoring the interdependencies between numerous connected projects, which would be far too difficult to do using a Gantt chart.

How to Create a Gantt chart?

A Gantt chart can be created in a variety of ways. Some individuals make Gantt charts using traditional desktop tools, while others utilize collaborative project management programs. The following are some of the typical processes in that procedure.

·        Start with a plan or idea in mind.

·        Examine the present project strategy in place.

·        Identify which tasks are dependent or interdependent.

·        Divide your budget into sections.

How to Create a Calendar?

There are no hard and fast guidelines for developing a project calendar. The method you take to a calendar is determined by the project, the team, and your personal preferences. Here are a few stages to creating a project management calendar.

·        Make a Tasks list. Constructing tasks is an important aspect of creating any project plan, and chances are you probably have a list of activities if you're starting a project calendar.

·        Priorities must be established. Being willing to shuffle responsibilities is a critical aspect of creating a work calendar. Regardless of the finest project preparation, things do not always go as planned.

·        Examine Using Various Filters. Before finalizing your project planning calendar, you should go through it several times. This is accomplished by utilizing filters to view only specific parts of the calendar.


We hope that this article has provided you with the knowledge to understand the distinction between a Gantt chart and a timeline, and how you can utilize both to better handle the development of your project. You should have realized by now that these two visual materials are excellent tools for project development and execution. You should employ them based on the circumstances and the requirements of your project.

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About the Author: Marbenz Antonio Marbenz Antonio is a skilled content writer for Edworking's blog, producing high-quality articles in English on a daily basis. With a background in education and a passion for writing, he brings a unique perspective to his work, offering valuable insights and practical advice for readers in the education industry. As a Content Writer from the Philippines, Marbenz brings diversity to the Edworking team, helping to establish the brand as a global resource for educators and education professionals. Marbenz excels in task management, ensuring that he consistently meets deadlines and produces content that aligns with Edworking's editorial calendar. He also has experience in project management, adeptly juggling multiple assignments and collaborating with other team members to deliver comprehensive, informative content that drives engagement and supports the brand's objectives.
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