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I made a Gantt chart for my computing project at university. I am writing up the thesis at the moment and I am wondering where I should put my Gantt chart.

I currently have my Gantt chart taking up a whole page in my Project Management chapter.

Would you put it in an appendix of the project report or just leave it where it is?

The reason I ask is that because of its size, it sort of breaks up the flow of the person reading the report I think.

  • This is nothing to do with project management and everything to do with your professors preferred style for theses. – Ben Aug 19 '11 at 12:23
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    On the contrary - he's managing a project. I doubt very much that there's only one person involved. – Lunivore Aug 23 '11 at 20:35
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If you have a long-ish Gantt chart, it is common practice to report on the major milestones form the Gantt chart in a project presentation and leave the actual Gantt chart out all together. You might want to consider something like that, but since this is for a class, you might want to keep the milestones on a page and integral to the report and leave the full Gantt chart as an appendix to prove you've done the work.

Also - One thing I always wrestle with is "what should I show on the Gantt chart" Dependencies are nice, critical path is good to highlight, and you might also want to show effort in addition to calendar time. You only have to start using these in anger a short time to realize that you can run out of room on 11x17 paper quickly :-) (which is why I loath printing them out - they change too frequently once actuals are incorporated and each audience wants to see different data or the data differently presented.

Have fun in class!

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Since this is a PM StackExchange, I'll try to answer it in a way that I'd help a PM. Your thesis is a project, after all.

Your main stakeholder is your professor. You will no doubt have other stakeholders - a review board, perhaps - who have their own preferences. Have you asked them what a top-marked report looks like, and what they valued in it? If not, perhaps you have a chance to do so before it's due.

The university probably has a stake too - they will want anyone who graduates from them to be a good representation of their university. How can you help them with that? Can you show evidence that the resources, teaching and support that they've provided you have helped? If they didn't, can you suggest what you would have liked or done differently yourself next time?

The main purpose of a Gantt chart is to identify major milestones and to give a rough outline of a project at the start, before the real risks, difficulties and pleasant surprises have been discovered. What did you discover along the way, and will it be of interest to your professors? Do you have any comparisons between the original Gantt chart and the real project timeline? Will they be interested in the learning?

Will a professional, high-level manager outside of the university be more impressed by someone who can show evidence of good computer programming, or someone who can show evidence that they've understood their stakeholders' need and vision, and delivered accordingly? How can you do that best?

When you can answer these questions, I think you'll understand where to put your Gantt chart.

  • +1 To me the Gantt chart is PM's homework. It documents all the work you put into work breakdown structure, task and milestone dependencies, estimates, etc. I think this is exactly what the professor and future employers will want to see. This will also be very useful when discussing the project structure and execution. The chart will let them understand it quickly and ask good questions, letting you shine with great answers. – Krzysztof Kozielczyk Feb 7 '12 at 20:00
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Considering the fact that it is more a disturbing factor in the layout of your report, why not add it as an appendix in total.

Perhaps you can give a summarized version with only the 'important' parts in the content of the document, higlighting all the points you want to make in your report.

Taking in consideration that your content and it's quality has the highest priority, layout is something to take into consideration at any time! Perhaps you will not gain any points with it, or get higher grades, but it will definitly give your report a good 'extra'.

Good layout doesn't make the content better it enables you to higlight certain aspects better. Bad layout has far more influence in a negative way: it makes people less enthuusiastic to read your report and it will be harder to highlight important aspects.

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In my opinion, this is a marketing question and should be treated as such. In Project Management, there are many times when we need to do a bit of marketing to sell the project for funding and attain it. A thesis sounds just like this. In general, follow the typical marketing rules of keeping things simple for the reader and allow them to drill down if they want to, such as placing a summary gant chart with a more detailed chart in an appendix.

  • Welcome to PMSE, the site for expert and enthusiast project managers. Thank you for your answer. Keeping things simple is definitely great advice +1. BTW I removed your blog link. We encourage everyone to promote themselves in their Stack Exchange user page so the content for each question stays relevant. Just click your username (next to your post) to see it. Thanks again + hope you continue to participate. – jmort253 Feb 3 '12 at 3:09
  • sorry, habit to always paste that link....will refrain from doing that here...thanks. – Dean Hiller Feb 13 '12 at 4:38

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