Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped thousands of project teams choose the right Gantt chart software so they can visualize project schedules and track project progress.

Showing 1-20 of 266 products

Workzone

Workzone is a project management solution that offers document management, project collaboration, customizable reporting, resource and task management and time tracking. The software is cloud-based and offers automated emailed reports... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 45 recommendations

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NetSuite OpenAir

NetSuite OpenAir offers buyers a collection of applications designed to support every stage of the professional services delivery lifecycle. Offered as Software-as-a-Service, the platform includes applications to manage projects, resources,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 42 recommendations

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NetSuite Professional Services Automation

NetSuite Professional Services Automation is used by professional services organizations to optimize their project-based operations. The software offers integrated project management, resource management, project-based accounting and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 35 recommendations

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BQE Core - Integrated Project Management and Accounting

BQE Core is a cloud-based solution that offers integrated business accounting, project management, and business intelligence. It can support the operations of a variety of industries, including legal services, architecture firms, engineering,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 25 recommendations

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MPOWR Envision

Designed to eliminate rigid departmentalization and streamline strategic execution, MPOWR Envision helps organizations build an execution strategy using open communication and organizational alignment. As a cloud-based execution tool,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 25 recommendations

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Project Insight

Project Insight (PI) is the work management hub helping companies manage projects, allocate personnel and track what work is being done throughout the entire organization. The intuitive software aggregates data from high-productivity... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

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Quick Base

Quick Base is the smoothest way to manage complex and strategic projects involving many stakeholders in different departments and roles. Quick Base is a cloud-based low-code application development platform that is highly customizable... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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Viewpath

Viewpath is a cloud-based project management solution that allows teams to view team availability, assign tasks and collaborate with teams in real time. With everything hosted in the cloud, the platform can be utilized by global teams,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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KeyedIn Projects

KeyedIn Projects is a cloud-based project management solution for enterprise-level companies offering a suite with features, such as program management, professional services automation and project portfolio management application.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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BigTime

BigTime is an online time and billing solution designed to serve professional service firms like accounting, engineering, government contracting, legal and IT services. The integrated solution offers features like time and expense... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Clarizen

Using Clarizen’s leading collaborative work management solution for the enterprise, businesses can solve challenges far beyond traditional work, project or resource management. With Clarizen’s enterprise-grade solution, teams are... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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monday.com

monday.com, an award-winning collaboration and project management platform, helps teams plan together efficiently and execute complex projects to deliver results on time. monday.com team management and task management tool allows for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a work execution platform and collaboration tool with a familiar spreadsheet-like interface that helps teams plan, track, and manage projects in real-time. Smartsheet features include a range of project management tools,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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Easy Projects

Easy Projects is a cloud-based project management platform suitable for midsize organizations and enterprises. Easy Projects provides every contributing team member, project manager, executive, stakeholder or customer with access... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Workfront

Workfront is a platform for enterprise work management. Now there is one central application platform to share ideas, create content, manage complex processes, and help people do their best work. When all the information about work... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Sciforma

Sciforma is a cloud-based project and portfolio management solution for enterprises that allows to strategically track and analyze project data and make relevant decisions. It can be sold as a stand-alone portfolio management, project... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Deltek Vision

Deltek Vision is a cloud-based project-based solution for professional services firms that is available for cloud or on-premise deployment. It combines project accounting, resource management, project management, time/expense management... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Scoro

Scoro is a cloud-based professional services solution for small to midsize companies in advertising, consulting, IT and other industries. The solution provides a control hub that displays pending tasks, account information, key performance... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Mavenlink

Mavenlink offers services and solutions for project management, resource planning, collaboration, and project accounting. Mavenlink combines the robust functionality of a Professional Services Automation solution with intuitive user-friendly... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Wrike

Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform for teams of 20+ that is suitable for both large enterprises and SMBs. It supports remote work for various teams. This solution comes with Gantt charts, calendars, workload view for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: September 9, 2020

Gantt charts are a valuable project management (PM) tool. Used for planning and tracking waterfall projects, Gantt charts help stakeholders coordinate and agree on baselines for scope, budget and timeline—metrics used to determine project success.

Gantt chart software automates many PM functions, allowing managers to more easily create project schedules, assign tasks to users, track the progression of work items and share updates with the team.

Whether you're looking to purchase your first PM Gantt chart system or update your current software, this buyer's guide can help you make a more informed decision.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Gantt Chart Software?
Common Capabilities of Gantt Chart Software
Benefits and Potential Challenges

What Is Gantt Chart Software?

A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of a project, displaying the scope (e.g., tasks and milestones) on the y-axis, against the schedule, or time, on the x-axis.

Tasks are illustrated as horizontal bars. Their position and length reflect the start date, duration and end date. Dependent tasks are connected using a physical link, e.g., the arrows in the screenshot below, and concurrent tasks are stacked according to their start dates.

A Gantt chart in software platform Mavenlink

A Gantt chart in Mavenlink

Gantt chart software is used to create digital Gantt charts, automating and saving time on various actions, including:

  • Scheduling task start and end dates
  • Assigning tasks to users
  • Identifying the critical path
  • Cascading changes across subsequent tasks
  • Sharing updates with stakeholders (e.g., task status, at-risk items and reprioritization)

The ability to cascade changes across subsequent tasks is a benefit that cannot be overstated. If Task A is late by one day, the start dates and due dates for each task following it will update accordingly. Managers receive an alert so they can schedule notifications to let team members know how the delay will impact their activities. They'll also have the option to notify stakeholders if corrective action is required.

Gantt charts act as visual aids that communicate project status at a glance. Information is centralized, which keeps stakeholders on the same page at every stage of the project life cycle, from planning to closeout.

Organizations can purchase Gantt chart software as a stand-alone or "best-of-breed" solution, or as part of a larger PM platform.

Often, when Gantt charts are included as an application within a larger platform, teams can choose from "multiple views," meaning they can view tasks in a calendar view, list format or in a Gantt chart. If your stakeholders have different preferences for how they want to receive updates, you should consider this type of solution.

Best-of-breed tools are often more specialized than integrated suites. If you have industry-specific needs, or require custom fields and templates, a stand-alone system is more suitable.

Common Capabilities of Gantt Chart Software

Look for the following capabilities as you evaluate Gantt chart tools:

Task management Identify project requirements, break requirements down into deliverables and individual tasks (e.g., work breakdown structure). Assign start and due dates, assign priority and cost, add task notes and assign tasks to users.

Drag-and-drop: Set start and end dates by manipulating the bar length on the calendar. Reorder tasks by dragging-and-dropping them along the timeline.

Critical path: Identify the critical path by highlighting the longest sequence of tasks that determine the minimum amount of time needed to complete a project.
Resource management See each team member's availability and workload. Assign users to tasks based on availability and skill set (recorded and saved in a skills database), or use a placeholder resource until a user with that skill becomes available.
Project planning Form the project initiative; create the work breakdown structure; set baselines for scope, budget and timeline; develop the risk management plan; and develop a communication strategy for stakeholders. Some tools may include project templates you can choose from, or you can create and save your own.

Read more: "Project Planning Checklist: 5 Steps Every Plan Should Follow"
Project tracking See project status at a glance. The Gantt chart acts as a live dashboard showing a bird's-eye view of project progress. Reports will vary, but can include baselines (comparing actuals to the original plan), resource forecasting, time tracking and risk reports.

Color-coding: Use colors to represent task attributes such as status (e.g., all overdue tasks are red), or to indicate who the task is assigned to (e.g., all Bob's tasks are purple).

Task-shading: Use shading to represent percent complete, e.g., a task that's 25 percent complete would be one-quarter shaded.
Document management Upload files to tasks, share with other users and store in a centralized, searchable repository. Ask vendors about storage limits within product tiers, archive or delete tasks and documents and integrate with new or existing content management systems.

Benefits and Potential Challenges

While there are many benefits to using Gantt chart software, small and midsize businesses considering these tools for the first time should also be aware of potential challenges.

Benefits:

  • Gantt charts can be used to convey a wealth of project information, from high-level scheduling to specific task details. Viewers know who is responsible for tasks, when tasks need to be completed and how individual tasks relate to larger project requirements and deliverables.
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  • Tracking project progress publicly can be a great motivator for both individual productivity and overall team performance. Tools with time-tracking can also help users learn to better manage their time and prioritize their queue.
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  • Visually laying out project requirements on a timeline, and breaking deliverables down into individual tasks is a great way to more accurately set baselines for scope, budget and timeline. Users can clearly see how adding items to the scope will push the project out, or how costs will increase.

Challenges:

  • As is true of any tool, the quality of the output is only as good as the data put into it. The value of Gantt charts is reliant on the accuracy of resource estimates used to create budget and timeline projections.
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  • Gantt charts require upkeep. Especially if you want to use them for project tracking, you will need to assign ownership of the Gantt chart to a manager and require them to update the system accordingly.
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  • Gantt charts don't automatically account for Murphy's law—whatever can go wrong will go wrong. So it's important to leave some cushion in the system to account for issues when you're building out project schedules.