I just watched this nice video on how to trick Excel into making a Gantt chart.

It’s not that the process seems difficult, it’s just very time consuming:

  1. Create your task list, with start dates, durations and end dates.
  2. Create a stacked bar chart form this data.
  3. Modify your bar chart to make the start dates invisible.
  4. Modify your bar chart to make the tasks appear in the correct order (in ascending order of start date).
  5. Modify your bar chart legends so the right date range is used.
  6. Modify your bar chart axis divisions so that you can easily see if some tasks overlap.

My brain hurts.

I imagine there is a way to create templates to speed up the creation of the Gantt chart, but it still seems like twisting Excel into doing something it wasn’t designed to do in the first place. I understand that since pretty much everyone has Excel already installed on their computers, it seems like this process gives Gantt charts to project managers, for free.

Here’s the problem: your time is not free.

Think about it: how much time will you spend making Gantt charts in Excel? At the end of the year, all those 15 minutes add up to a lot of hours, and that means a lot of money for you, your employer, and your client.

15 minutes per day, 3 times a week, for 48 weeks per year represents 36 hours.  This means using the free Excel Gantt chart tool costs thousands of dollars in salary.

Wouldn’t you have better things to do with those 36 hours?

That’s where project management systems come in.

Project management systems like AceProject are built to create Gantt charts. All you need to do is build your project’s activity list, and the system will create the Gantt chart for you. With the right dates, and the correct time scales, and even shows progress on your activities!

AceProject is available for free, and costs at most 1000$ per year. No need to twist a product into something it’s not. And this means more time for you to do what you should be doing: helping your project teams along.