Last year we shipped the most powerful enhancement to AroFlo’s Projects feature to date, Gantt Charts.
Since the launch of AroFlo’s Gantts, we’ve seen thousands of charts created by our users, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how positive the reception to this core piece of functionality has been.
If you’re still on the fence about using AroFlo’s Gantts or are perhaps only now looking to break into project management, then there has never been a better time to dive in and start utilising Gantt Charts in your everyday operations.
To make this process even easier, we thought we’d run AroFlo’s Gantts through a practical scenario and discuss how this feature works in the real world.
We’ll save time by assuming you have a basic understanding of what a Gantt Chart is and how they are structured regarding dependencies, milestones, steps and stages.
However, if you are entirely new to Gantt Charts, you can check out our previous article highlighting the specifics of AroFlo’s Gantts and how they function here. You can also check out the details of AroFlo’s Gantt new Scheduling and Baselines update here.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll be building a basic residential property using an AroFlo Gantt to assist us with scheduling and managing the project. As we work through the related tasks, we’ll try to account for potential project complications using the functionality packed into our Gantt Chart system.
Let’s start by outlining the tasks we need to complete to successfully deliver our residential build
We’ll need to plan and oversee the construction of:
- The Slab/Base
- The Brickwork/Frame
- The Roof/Enclosure
- The Rough-in
- The Fit-out
Five tasks, all of which we’ve already given due dates and loaded into the Tasks section of AroFlo’s existing ‘Projects’ interface like so:
With our job data entered, we can now easily navigate to our newly generated Gantt from within the Projects interface by clicking on the handy Gantt Chart tab.
We’ll find all of our tasks ready to be laid out on a timeline drawn from the dates we inputted earlier within our Gantt Chart interface.
But there’s a problem we need to solve before we can start using our Gantt Chart to run our residential project.
Using our expertise as project managers, we can assume that some of the tasks we’ve laid out can’t commence until other tasks are completed.
We need to display this information accurately, so we can avoid making costly scheduling mistakes.
To give an example, say we’ve placed our Site Prep and Slab Pour on our Gantt Chart:
We now need to flag that the preparation must be completed before the concreters can get to work and avoid having them arrive with a mixer full of cement while the site is still under excavation
To account for this correctly, we’ll quickly set up a Dependency within our Gantt Chart:
By linking tasks within our chart, we’ve now indicated to relevant parties operating on our project that the site prep must be completed before the slab pour can occur.
This example may seem blindingly obvious but remember that our residential house is a very basic build. The Dependencies feature will make a huge difference in complex projects as more and more individual parties and their related tasks get added to the process.
Did you know: Individual tasks within AroFlo’s Gantt Chart integration each have an internal progress bar. By clicking and dragging the arrow under a task, you can adjust the completion percentage and easily track the progress of tasks within our Gantt Chart software.
Something to note further is that where you decide not to use dependencies is just as important as where you do. Let’s run through another example to clarify this.
As we covered above, our slab pour was dependent on the previous step being completed before it could begin. But if we jump forward in time to the point where our roofers have finished their work enclosing the structure, we’re suddenly much less constrained by task dependencies. This opportunity means we can start getting multiple different tradies working on-site at once
In this case, we know that our electrician isn’t reliant on the work of our plumber and vice versa. Because of this, we don’t need to link them up with a dependency.
This is great if, for example, your plumber is caught up for a couple of days, and you need to check what else can be done in the meantime. A quick glance at your Gantt Chart will tell you that regardless of what stage the plumbing is at, you can bring your electrician on site to complete their rough-in.
But rather than spending extra time scheduling our electrician using the AroFlo calendar, we’ll do it right from within our Gantt itself.
By double-clicking on a task within our Gantt Chart, we can easily schedule project tasks without leaving the Projects interface. Better yet, schedules created within a Gantt are linked to our calendar via a two-way communication system, so any changes in one are reflected in the other instantly.
Now that our electricians are booked in, what about the roofers we mentioned earlier?
They’re a busy bunch and don’t want to turn up on site until they know for sure the brickwork is done and they can get to work enclosing the structure.
Being expert project managers, we negotiate with them and reach an agreement that a site inspection should be conducted once the brickwork is complete, so the roofers can see for themselves that the site is ready for them.
To enter this information into our Gantt Chart, we’ll use the helpful Milestone feature to add an inspection:
Here we can see how the features within AroFlo’s Gantt Chart software begin to interlock.
The red diamond indicates the site inspection we agreed on. But to make things even clearer, we’ve not only set a dependency between Brickwork and Roofing, but we’ve also added another dependency to the site inspection milestone itself.
Now, no matter what happens, the site inspection must be conducted before our project can move on to the next stage, keeping work running smoothly and our roofers happy.
Milestones are AroFlo’s answer to the constraints felt by many project managers when utilising Gantt Chart software over more traditional methods. They can be virtually anything you require, decided only by the specifics of your current project and what needs to be signposted along the way.
Maybe we’ll even add another Milestone once the final fit-out is done and our build is complete:
Well-earned if you ask us.
But before we celebrate, we’d better check in with our client and let them know how we plan to deliver their project and help them build their dream home. We don’t want them seeing our current timeline, though, as it includes a lot of business-specific information, so we’ll provide them with a snapshot of our original timeline instead.
To show only our original timeline, we’ll use the handy Baseline dropdown menu to ‘Show baseline only’:
Now they can see the entire project from start to finish, and all we need is their approval to start building with the power of AroFlo’s Gantt Chart functionality at our side.
It’s as easy as that.
If you’re new to AroFlo and are interested in seeing what else our Gantt Charts and other project management tools can do, book a demo today. We help tradies, builders and service professionals just like you empower their operations with job management software they can depend on.