The bar chart, invented by Henry Gantt, is a simple but useful graphical tool that can help you visualise the project schedule. It is drawn with dates as the x axis and the project tasks as the y axis. Tasks are shown as solid bars between the estimated start and end dates.
Arrows linking tasks can be used to show dependencies. Other drawing conventions are the use of a filled diamond shape to indicate a milestone or a filled circle to indicate a meeting date.
Gantt charts are another of those things that some people are reluctant to try. This can be because creating them using software such as Microsoft Project does require some training. Gantt charts though can be easily created in Excel by colouring the different cells – the example given can also be downloaded for you to look at more closely or use as a template.