Work on the project's Gantt chart begins once the construction method is determined. This chart can be constructed in longhand on graph paper or by using a computer and project management software.
Fifty years ago, Earl's project team got down on their hands and knees and rolled long sheets of newsprint across 100 feet of floor. They then nailed down a surveyor's tape at one end and stretched it the length of the room for the timeline. Using large wooden triangles, T-squares, and straight edges, they laid out jet engine projects. Give thanks for software!
A large sheet of graph paper is still reasonable, however, for very small projects.
When using project management software to help develop a Gantt chart, the necessary tools must be set up in advance. One configuration is set up so that a data entry person faces the computer keyboard, the monitor, and the team. A projector then is positioned to capture the monitor's image and to project it onto a large screen over the data entry person's head, enabling the team to watch the Gantt chart develop. A printer also should be hooked up to the computer (see Figure 6-3).
Other configurations can serve this purpose. A laptop computer combines the monitor and keyboard with its disadvantage being its small screen. (We prefer a large monitor screen.) In another configuration, the project manager, standing up, works the keyboard and watches the monitor, while leading the team through the Gantt chart development. Combining the two jobs (data entry and facilitating team input) is difficult unless the project manager is particularly well versed in the software and is a fast typist.