Learn how to construct the Gantt of Gantts using rows of numbers rather than shapes. The numbers can come from the Gantt chart for that project, or can be estimated. The Gantt of Gantts can be for one resource, perhaps the bottleneck resource, or your own area.
- [Narrator] So we've built up a program view which I'm calling my Gantt of Gantts, and I'm using Excel for all of my examples, not just for this course, but because it's what I would want to choose to use in real life. This is because I think it's the best way to really have control over what you put where. Microsoft Project is notoriously difficult to use for resource planning. It's great for making Gantt charts, but as soon as you start to plan resources, particularly for multiple projects it gets very time consuming to put the information in, and it's very hard to control what outputs it gives you.
As well as Microsoft Project, there are loads of free and cheap applications out there, some of which are pretty much copies of MS Project, and some are a bit different, but with all of them, they're hard to share with other people, for example, customers and sub-contractors who don't have the same software. They also take time to learn, they aren't very flexible, and they don't do everything. So I think in the end, good old Excel is the answer. You can make it do anything you want, and it will cope with whatever unique foibles your particular collection of projects might have.
But if you want to use MS Project or anything else for this type of work, then that's fine too. This course is really about understanding what you do with the software rather than how to use the particular application. So anyway, back to my Gantt of Gantts. Rather than trying to show all of the Gantt charts on one massive diagram like this, we're just looking at the resources required on one simplified summary diagram. I think if you only have two or three projects you actually can have them all on the same Gantt chart, one below the other.
But once you get more than five or six then you need to have a simplified view of each project. And it's the resources that you're mainly concerned with. You don't need to know the detail of each project or the components of the program as they're sometimes called. You can always bring up the detailed Gantt chart for any one of them if you need to see it in more detail. But I want to just make three important points about the reality of constructing this program resource plan or Gantt of Gantts.
First, although I like the shapes, they are really visual, you can immediately see that Project D is the longest, but also the tallest one, so it's going to be using the greatest number of resources at its peak. But in reality this Gantt of Gantts will probably not be shapes. It will be just rows of figures on a spreadsheet, like this. I think you could make it a bit clearer by using conditional formatting to color in the bars and maybe have a graph of the total added up resources like this.
My second point is that these rows of numbers, should ideally come from the Gantt chart that you should really have for each project. If you haven't got a Gantt chart for each project, then how are you going to manage those projects? If I was the program manager I would absolutely expect each project manager to be able to show me a Gantt chart for their project both at the start and then colored in during the project to show progress. But in some cases you don't have access to this.
Maybe you're working top-down and you want to get a rough idea of whether you can do all the projects that are being talked about. Maybe it's not worth doing a detailed plan of every project until you've decided whether you can do even half of them. So in this case I think it would be okay to guess your Gantt of Gantts, just estimate that Project A is about three people for eight weeks, and Project B is only one person for 10 weeks, et cetera. This will give you a pretty good idea of roughly how much you can do, and you can then check the detail of the projects within that rough plan.
So it's okay to guess your Gantt of Gantts, it's certainly better than not having one at all. And my third point is that the Gantt of Gantts might well not be showing the total resources for each project, but just the amount of your bottleneck resource that you need for each project. If you know the bottleneck resource or you're able to work out what it is, then you can use just that to work out you Gantt of Gantts. Of course, you still need to think about urgency and importance of projects and whether one depends on another being done before it, but you're also now able to check that you do have the resources available to be able to carry out your plan.
And a final thought, if you're a manager in a large organization and you have a number of projects going on in your area, then you are effectively managing a program, and you almost certainly won't have enough resources to do all the projects that you want to do when they're needed. So you could do a Gantt of Gantts just for your own department just to check that you have the resources you need, and if you don't, then you have a great arguing tool to show that you can't do all the work that's being asked of you, well, not unless they want to give you more people.
So rather than looking at the resource for the whole project, just take the parts that effect you and check that at least you can deliver your part. So I just want you to take a moment now and think. Do you have a number of projects going on in your area? Would it be useful to guesstimate and approximate Gantt of Gantts just for your area, just to check that you can deliver what you've promised your boss and to the rest of the organization?
LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- What is program management?
- Planning from the bottom up vs. top down
- Resource planning
- Managing projects, resources, and time
- Getting the staff you need
- Self-organizing teams