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This is what happens when a project manager gets married:

The GANTT chart for our wedding.
The GANTT chart for our wedding. I'm probably going to drive my fiancé crazy.

My fiancé and I are getting married a year from now and I would be remiss if I did not apply my skills and knowledge to what could be considered one of the biggest projects of a couple’s life together: their wedding.

I am using the occasion to try a new GANTT chart Excel macro I recently bought (USD $19.99) from Office Help. The template is their Plan Generator v. 5.0 and so far it is working out fairly well. One of the key features I like is the color coordination of the various control groups and subgroups derived from a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Unfortunately it does not allow you to build a WBS, you have to do that on your own. Further, when importing your various control groups it helps to include the WBS number for each one, which means having it all in one cell as opposed to a WBS with a column for control numbers and the following column for the task name.

If you understand dependencies, duration, slack, and the like, this tool can be very handy for connecting dependent tasks allowing with the extra time you have to complete it. Its “Input” page includes fields for determining who is responsible for a task, categories into which tasks might fall, percent complete, etc. I personally use them to calculate how long a task could take given the best, worst, and average case scenarios and I use this number to inform my task durations.

The template comes with other functionality including the ability to factor in weekends and a customized holiday list. The latter function is especially handy if you are managing a project in a foreign county whose holiday schedule if vastly different from the United States’. It also allows you to produce GANTT charts by the week, month, quarter, and year. The photo above shows my wedding plan GANTT chart by month.

Overall, the template woks but it can be incredibly clunky. I do not recommend it for people with beginner-level Excel skills. If you are comfortable with Excel and can back yourself up with hand calculations for duration, slack, and crashing, you should find a great deal of good functionality in this template and I suggest you check it out.


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