Henry Gantt – Debunking the myths

It may come as a big surprise to many, but Henry L. Gantt did not invent bar charts despite many people miss labelling them ‘Gantt Charts’ and he had nothing to do with developing project management!

This definitive paper highlights the origins of bar charts in Scotland in the 18th century and looks at Gantt’s real work in manufacturing – when you have finished reading it, I hope you will agree the following myths should be ‘busted’ once and for all:

Misconception #1 Henry Gantt developed ‘Bar Charts’ – Fact, bar charts were developed 100 years before Gantt, his charts were sophisticated production control tools, not simple representations of activities over time.

Misconception #2 Henry Gantt contributed to the development of ‘project management’ – Fact, Gantt’s work was in machine shops and factories focused on batch production and factory throughput. Many of his ideas can be adapted to modern project management but Gantt sought to eliminate ‘one-off’ jobs that could not be batched and managed efficiently.

Read the full paper in the December edition of PM World Journal at: http://pmworldjournal.net/?article=henry-l-gantt-1861-1919-debunking-the-myths-a-retrospective-view-of-his-work


2 responses to “Henry Gantt – Debunking the myths

  1. Interesting topic. Thanks for providing the link to the paper. I think the same kinds of myths surround Frederick Taylor, the father of scientific management, whom Gantt was a student/follower of I believe.

    • You don’t see the same level of misrepresentation around Taylor’s work. The concepts within Scientific Management certainly underpinned much of the early development of project management practice particularly the ideas of the WBS and ‘one right way’ of doing a job leading to the concept of ‘best practice’. Complexity and uncertainty are relatively new ideas within project management. For more on this see ‘The Origins of Modern Project Management’ at: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Resources_Papers_050.html

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