Gannt view enables you to create detailed Gantt charts to track every aspect of your project, from task dependencies and milestones, to lag and lead times.
- Creating a Gantt view
- Understanding and modifying the Gantt layout
- Increasing or decreasing chart size
- Adding items to the Gantt chart
- Changing dates or duration
- Creating and modifying dependencies between items
- Adding Lag and Lead times
- Showing the critical path
- Adjusting dates
- Adding milestones
- Adding a secondary date field
- Navigating a big Gantt chart
- Using filters in Gantt view
- Modifying the hierarchical structure in Gantt view
- Getting activities and notifications
Creating a Gantt view
To create a Gantt view, open the view menu in the top right hand corner of your collection. It will display the name of your current view. Click "+ New View" and select "Gantt" from the list of options.
If you don't already have them, two new fields will be created in the collection: Subitems and Dependencies.
Click "Create and continue" to finish creating the view.
Understanding and modifying the Gantt layout
The Gantt view is structured with a list of items in the chart shown in a panel on the left hand side of the view, with a main panel sectioned off by days, weeks, and months. The current day is highlighted in light blue, and weekends are highlighted with a darker grey color.
When you first open the collection, if it doesn't contain any items, or none of your items are connected to a subitem or hierarchical structure, Zenkit will suggest you add new items, or drag existing ones from the unconnected panel. Otherwise, a list of items will appear on the left.
By default, only the name of these items will be shown in the panel, however you can choose to show the details of any field in this panel. To do so, click the "..." icon in the top right hand corner of the collection to open the view menu. Click on "Visible Columns" to open a menu of all fields in the collection.
Click the toggle of any fields you'd like to be shown in the left hand panel to the 'on' position. Once you're done, the fields will appear as a small table to the left of the main Gantt chart.
Increasing or decreasing chart size
You can change the scale of the chart in one of two ways: by changing the time period shown, or using the toggle to zoom in and out. To change the time period shown, click on 'Weeks' (or whichever time period is currently selected) in the top right hand corner of the collection. Select a new scale from the list.
To zoom in or out on the selected time scale, use the toggle in the top right hand corner. When the toggle is to the far left, the chart is zoomed out as far as possible in that time scale. When moved to the far right, it's zoomed in.
Adding items to the Gantt chart
If you already have items in the collection that don't have a hierarchical structure, they will appear in the "Unconnected" panel, shown in the top right hand corner of the collection.
To add items to the Gantt chart, simply drag and drop them from the panel onto the main chart space. They will appear as one-day long tasks on the current date (today's date).
If the item already has a date and duration or end date, it will appear on the corresponding date, for the corresponding duration.
Items that do exist in a hierarchy, but don't yet have a date assigned, will appear in the item panel to the left. To add one of these items to the main chart area, simply click on that date you want to add it to in line with the item name (in the same row).
To add a new item, click "Add Item..." at the bottom of the item panel (bottom left hand corner of the view). It will also appear on today's date by default.
Changing dates or duration
You can quickly change which day a task is scheduled on by dragging and dropping the item on the timeline. To change the duration of the item, use the grey paddles that appear on the left and right sides of an item when you hover over it.
Click anywhere on the grey panel to start dragging the edge of the item in any direction.
Creating and modifying dependencies between items
To add a dependency between one item and another, you can click and drag on the small arrow button that appears next to any item you hover over.
Drag the line to the item that you want to link to and let go. A grey arrow will attach the two items.
By default, dependencies are created as "Start to Finish", however there are multiple types of dependency available for Business Plan customers. To change the dependency type, click on the line connecting the two items. It will open the dependency properties.
There are four different types:
- Start to finish: This is the default dependency type. The item can only start when the previous one has been completed.
- Start to start: The item may only be started after the previous item has already started. The previous item must not be completed, though.
- Finish to start: The item may only be completed once the preceding item has started. It may be started at any time prior to the start of the preceding item.
- Finish to finish: The item may only be finished once the preceding item has finished. It can start any time before the completion of the previous item.
As well as changing the dependency type, with the Business Plan you can also add lag or lead times, and a description of why the dependency exists. Whenever you hover over the arrow linking two items, the dependency type and any description you add will appear as a tool tip.
Adding Lag and Lead times
You can add lag and lead times to the dependencies from the dependency properties.
Lag is a delay between dependent tasks. For example, if you need a delay between the finish of one task and the start of the next, you would add a lag to the dependency. Lag can be added to any of the four types of dependency.
A good example of when you'd need to use a lag in your dependency is in building a house. Assuming you're pouring concrete for your foundations, you need to wait at least 7 (and ideally up to 28) days for the concrete to dry and cure before you can begin building the framing on top of it.
Lag is indicated by red shading preceding the item for the lag duration.
Lead time is a way to accelerate the start of a successor task by starting it prior to the completion of a predecessor task and conducting them in parallel. This reduces the combined total time it takes to complete both tasks.
However, in order to leverage a lead, the dependency must be discretionary, meaning that the successor task does not rely on physical resources (materials, equipment, people) that are used by the predecessor task. Lead can only be found in finish to start dependencies.
A good example of leveraging lead time is a film project - the shoot takes place over 2 weeks and the filmed material needs to be edited. However, you don't need to wait until the shoot is finished before beginning editing. You can begin editing after the first day of the shoot, so you can add a 13 day lead to the dependency.
Lead is indicated by green shading surrounding and preceding the predecessor in a dependency.
Showing the critical path
The critical path shows the items in your chart that determine the minimum time needed to complete the project. If any item on the path is delayed or takes longer than expected, the project will be completed late. Critical path is available only to Business Plan subscriptions.
To show the critical path, click on the "..." icon in the top right hand corner of the collection to open the Gantt view properties, then turn the toggle next to 'critical path' to the 'on' position.
Items on the critical path will be colored in orange on the chart.
If you've changed the due date or duration of several items, you may notice that some of the dependency indication arrows have become red. This happens when an item is placed in a position on the schedule that breaks the rules of the dependency.
To adjust the whole chart in one go, you can use the 'Adjust dates' function, which will move all items that need to be move forward or backward in order to fix these invalid dependencies. To do this, click on the ... icon in the top right hand corner, then click on "Forwards" or "Backwards" under "Adjust dates" in the menu. All items except those marked as milestones will be adjusted accordingly.
Note: This action is irreversible and affects all items in a project, including those in the past! Please be sure that you want to make this change before clicking.
Milestones are used to indicate important points in a project. Usually the start and end of a project are marked, as well as the completion of important phases, and appointments such as external review or auditing, or budget checks.
Milestones usually don't impact project duration, and will not be moved when adjusting dates forward or backward. To add a milestone, click to open the item that you want to add it to, then under the "Dependencies" field, click the toggle next to "Milestone" to "On".
Milestones are indicated on the chart by a blue shaded horizontal line.
Adding a secondary date field
In some instances, it may be helpful to show one Gantt chart superimposed on top of another, for example a chart that tracks the actual dates of your project on top of the originally planned dates.
In Zenkit Base, this can be done by creating a second date field and opting to display it on the chart via the Gantt view options. Click on the "..." icon in the top right hand corner to open the view options, then click on "Secondary Date" under "Date Fields".
Choose a date field from your collection to show, or add a new one from the menu.
Once a secondary date has been added a second layer will be added to the Gantt chart space - the date and duration of items from the secondary field will be displayed in dark blue behind the dates in the primary field.
Secondary date fields are available only on the Business subscription.
Navigating a big Gantt chart
If you have a lot of items scheduled in your chart, it may get tedious scrolling left and right to find the tasks you're looking for. If you need to quickly get to an item that's not currently in view, you can use the small arrows that show to the left and right of the chart to find them. Just click the arrow next to the name of the item you're looking for to be taken straight to it's location on the chart.
Using filters in Gantt view
When you apply a filter in the Gantt view, items that do not match the filter will be removed from the chart and the chart will condense. Lines that indicate dependency between items will still show on the chart.
Modifying the hierarchical structure in Gantt view
If you want to make changes to the hierarchy of the project, you can do so from the left hand panel that lists the items in the chart. To do so, make the subitems field visible (via the 'Visible Columns' section of the view settings). Once it's shown in the left hand panel, you can drag and drop items to move them up or down the hierarchy, as well as left or right to indent them. You can learn more about how this works in our guide to hierarchy view.
Getting activities and notifications
If the task list add-on is activated in your collection, then when the previous item is checked off, an activity will be generated on the successor item, notifying users that it may now be started.