Project Management

Prep I

Read the Wikipedia Article on "Project Management," keeping an eye out for these three classical techniques:

  • Gantt charts
  • Critical Path Method (CPM)
  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

and these more modern techniques

  • Agile project management
  • Lean project management
  • Benefits realisation management

You may want to click through to the main articles on some of these.

Review Questions

What are the goals of project management, broadly understood?
Around when, historically, were Gannt charts first used?
What was PERT first developed for?
Which technique under "Approaches" strikes you as most appropriate for a project in a human services organization?

Gannt Charts

  1. Until now we have talked about relatively simple tasks like making coffee in a cafe. What about a slightly more complex example: a few of us get together to make dinner for friends? How about something like building the 9/11 memorial and having it ready for the tenth anniversary?

An important concept behind a Gantt chart is "dependency" — in any process, some activities cannot commence until another activity is completed — the former depends on the latter. The activities on which something depends are called its predecessors. Complex tasks often include subtasks that depend on one another.

Stop and Think. If I am working on a research project and I need to get my lit review done before I can get human subjects approval (HSR) and I need HSR approval before I can collect my data but I can be drafting my methods section while I wait, what are my dependencies?

Read the Wikipedia article on Gannt Charts being sure to click on the link for dependency and read that too.

Stop and Think. Consider this Gannt chart from the Wikipedia article. The black lines represent the slack or "float" associated with each task. This refers to how much time finishing the task could be delayed by without delaying the overall project completion. Why is the float on task d (5) so long?


A Gannt chart is just one of many project management tools. These include methods for coordination, scheduling, estimation, managing politics (e.g., "Stakeholder Analysis"), quality control and assessment/evaluation, risk management, budgeting and so on.

There are many tools available for making Gannt charts. Perhaps the most common not-free software is Microsoft Project. Among the many free and cloud-based products is Gantter. We'll do an exercise with it. You should also know how to make a very simple Gantt chart in Excel


Watch the introductory video on Gantter.

Go to the Gannter home page and join using your Google ID.

Create a Gantt chart based on the following example. Save it to your Google Drive and share it with the instructor.

Grant Writing Project.
  1. Research grants to apply for and produce synopsis (2 weeks).
  2. Meet with advisory committee to decide which grant to apply for (1 day)
  3. Reach out to other stakeholders for letters of support. (2 weeks)
  4. Write introductory sections of grant (2 days)
  5. Write main sections of proposal
    1. Get census data to document need for services. (3 days)
    2. Do data analysis (1 week)
    3. Based on data analysis, write up draft of case statement
    4. Produce fancy charts of census data (1 week)
    5. Insert charts and "write around them" (3 days)
  6. Produce summary and conclusion (2 days)
  7. Circulate and Revise
    1. Send draft proposal to advisory committee members (allow 4 days since some don't use email)
    2. Wait for comments (1 week)
    3. Revise Proposal (3 days)
  8. Submit to funder

References and Readings Critical Path Analysis and PERT Charts Stakeholder Analysis
Wikipedia. Glossary of project management