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When planning the production of a marketing brochure for instance, you could use lead time to make the creation of artwork start a few days before the writing phase is over.The two tasks are however still linked, which means that a delay of the writing phase will also delay the creation of the artwork.
The first thing you will need before setting up a Gantt chart is a detailed project plan.
A project plan is a series of interdependent tasks that need to be performed in a particular order.
Here, we refer to such applications as Gantt applications.
Different Gantt applications have different features and capabilities: in the discussion below we describe some of the more common ones.
The arrowhead indicates the direction of the link: it goes from the predecessor to the successor. In this case its start date is determined by the predecessor link that gives it the latest start date.
As dates and times change during the course of the project, the predecessor link that determines the start date of the task may also change.When you are scheduling a project plan from its start date the Gantt application calculates the end date of the project automatically, on the basis of the task durations, the task dependencies and the project calendar.The possibility of linking tasks in this way is what makes project management software particularly powerful: you can change the duration of one or more tasks, add a task or remove a task from a chain of linked tasks, and all the dates are recalculated automatically so as to maintain the task dependencies you have defined.When moving into a new office for instance, you cannot start redesigning the office space before the lease agreement has been signed.Project plans have a specific start date, corresponding to the start of the first task (for instance defining the requirements for the new office), and a specific end date, corresponding to the end of the last task (for instance moving in).You can easily add or remove tasks, set or adjust the duration of tasks (length of bars), link tasks (for example to make one task follow immediately after another), and add constraints (for example to specify that a task must end no later than a given date).To help you get started, some Gantt applications include various ready-made project plans for common business activities (for example, organizing a tradeshow, producing a publication, launching a product).For instance, a publication must be written and proofread before it can be printed.To achieve this, the Gantt application lets you link tasks so that they depend on each other.Conversely, if a task is delayed, all the tasks that depend on it are automatically rescheduled, which may or may not impact the overall end date of the project.By using the Gantt display you can build and manage complete project plans in this standard, well-defined format.