Henry Gantt

(From The Gantt Group, Ann Arbor, MI)

The name Gantt is not an acronym but the name of a very interesting person who developed the charting system that bears his name.

Henry Gantt (1861-1919) was an associate of Frederick Taylor (1856-1915). Taylor was one of the first people to look at work in a scientific way. He realized that work is not a monolithic "thing" but a series of linked, smaller tasks. He reasoned that to improve productivity, the individual tasks need to be performed more efficiently. Up to that point, productivity was improved by demanding that workers put in more hours of labor. Now, let's go back to Henry.

Influenced by Taylor's research, Henry focused his work on the construction of Navy ships during World War I. He broke down all the tasks in the construction process and diagrammed them using the now familiar grid, bars, and milestones. This charting method, which bears his name, has proved to be a powerful planning and evaluation tool for managers. In fact, its appearance has changed very little over the last 100 years. It was not until the 1990s that link lines were added to the task bars to show various kinds of dependencies.

In addition to developing this indispensable project-management tool, Henry was a proponent of social change. He strongly believed that wage-workers should be rewarded for good work through a bonus systemórather than be punished for poor performance through pay reductions. He developed a pay incentive system with a guaranteed minimum wage and bonus systems for people on fixed wages. Also, Gantt focused on the importance of the qualities of leadership and management skills in building effective industrial organizations.