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I am a newbie to Project Management and I was not able, not yet at least, to attend a proper course and get a certification. Let's say I am learning on the "field". I am facing the managing of an EU project, which involves companies and universities, and Gantt chart is one of the many difficulties I am dealing with.

I will describe how am I approaching the problem so that you can hopefully tell me what I am doing wrong and how to fix it.

1- starting from the project idea, I discuss with all the partners to figure out who does what and how much money each partner need to complete the task complying with the overall project budget.

2- each partner is also supposed to tell me the amount of work they put in (persons month) in each task to complete it, which basically gives me two degrees of freedom (more workers on the WP (or task) ---> less duration of the WP (or task) and vice versa, right?

3- Once we have defined 1) and 2) I have to prepare a Gantt chart, and that's the rub!

How can I guess how to spread the WP, and then the tasks, duration within the whole project? Should my partners tell me that?

Now guessing I have the months on the x-axis of the chart, this is what I figured out:

Each university is basically looking to found a PhD/researcher position, this means one person "fully-employed" in the project. Then I should spread the months duration of the tasks in such a way that the researcher is fully employed each month, e.g. if one task require 10 person months it should last 10 months, is it right?

The partner companies can basically "book" hours, so they do not have to fulfill this requirement. Does it have to do with the way people?

Could you also suggest me any reference, books, articles and so on?

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Lots of advice on the web covers this question - but I think there is an assumption that complicates things.

Each university is basically looking to found a PhD/researcher position, this means one person "fully-employed" in the project. Then I should spread the months duration of the tasks in such a way that the researcher is fully employed each month, e.g. if one task require 10 person months it should last 10 months, is it right?

That tells me you're not working on a project - you're working on operations.

A project is a collection of effort to produce a distinct outcome. You build the Gantt chart by recursively dividing the work into smaller, subordinate work packages. Continuing decomposing the work until (a) all the work needed to produce the outcome is represented by work packages, (b) minimal work not needed to produce the outcome is included in work packages and (c) the work packages are either inherently atomic, or represent < 40 hours effort. There are multiple resources on the web that will describe how to do this - I'm particularly fond of Sensei Solutions guidance, but the US DOD and DHS each have good standards for creating and documenting work packages and Gantt charts. This decomposition should (IMHO) be done in close cooperation with the Subject Matter Experts - part of the goal should be to understand and share the understanding of the real effort involved. But the critical point is that all the work is focused on producing a single, discrete, valuable outcome.

What you describe seems to be a problem in operations research - how to ensure that the researchers are fully employed. This isn't a problem in project management; you may find some resources related to portfolio management useful, and you may be describing an efficient horizon problem.

There is overlap between what you're describing and project management; but I'm concerned that you're using the wrong tool for the job. Sometimes we consciously choose to use the tool we have rather than the tool we want... I've used knife blades to turn screws... but I think it is important to make that choice consciously.

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