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6 Popular Project Management Charts that Managers Use Today

Charts help visualize key project data and improve overall team productivity. Read on to learn how to leverage the six most popular project charts for your team.


Successful project management depends on the right combination of technical and social skills, tools, and project management best practices no matter what the industry is. Today, with many businesses expecting functional managers to handle project management as well, the importance of the right tools has skyrocketed.

Project management charts are among the most well-known reporting tools that managers rely on. The ability to visualize an entire project and understand what needs to be done at a glance can be a gamechanger when it comes to the productivity and efficiency of a team.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular project management charts and discuss what they bring to the table.

A brief introduction to project management charts

Project management charts are tools that visualize a project graphically by showing all the tasks, their order, priority, progress, and other essential data fulfills the definition of a chart. There are multiple kinds of project management charts you can use. All options have their strengths and focus, but one thing is common in any choice.

They help in streamlining project activities and make it easier for teams to understand the requirements and expectations of a project. In other words, they make a manager’s life easier.

How project charts help in effective project management

Small and uncomplicated projects don’t have an extensive list of tasks that need to be done or dependencies and project risks to manage.

However, advanced projects are a completely different story. As the complexity of a project increases, so does the requirement of effective project management tools that streamline the process of managing it. Project management charts can be the tool you need to handle everything effectively.

Project management charts provide a medium through which you can easily analyze and extract vital information from a project. By incorporating a systematic approach to categorize and arrange data, charts allow you to effectively evaluate project status with ease.

Below are some ways that charts can completely change the way you approach project management.

  • Allow you to stay up to date with projects in real-time
  • Encourage communication and collaboration within teams by keeping all members on the same page
  • Provide you and your project team with the fundamental understanding of a project and its project progress
  • Help to arrange and categorize data neatly in a single place and improve the overall effectiveness of decision making
  • Help you track and manage a project and allow you to react more effectively to new or unexpected developments
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6 popular project management charts that perform splendidly

You’ll find several choices that you can use, but the following are six most popular project management charts because of their capabilities, functionality, and flexibility.

Gantt chart

Talking about project management charts without Gantt charts isn’t possible, and that’s for a good reason. Gantt charts have always been the most popular and well-known project management charts out there. Traditional and modern project managers can easily visualize tasks and activities and understand important information such as completion time and where activities fit within a project through Gantt charts.

Best of all, Gantt charts easily let managers understand just how interconnected activities and tasks are with each other. These charts are easy to create and incredibly easy to interpret. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of project management can interpret a Gantt chart.

PERT chart

PERT charts are another staple of project management because of how widely they are used. PERT or Program Evaluation and Review Technique equips you with the ability to showcase the activities and milestones of a project by utilizing the basics laid down in CPM. Unlike with CPM, through the use of a network diagram, a PERT chart can account for uncertainty as you map out project tasks and activities.

Using a PERT chart, you can easily identify the critical path of a project and categorize parallel activities which you can use to speed up project closure. The most prominent aspect of a PERT chart is that it lets you identify all project dependencies at a glance by simply following the visualized task progression.

Cause–effect chart

A Cause–effect chart, or, as it is affectionately called, the fishbone diagram, is designed to be an ideal tool for problem-solving.

Not only do managers need to figure out the cause of a problem, but they also need to take corrective actions as fast as possible. By utilizing a cause-effect chart, that’s exactly what you can do. The project management chart lets you create categories and highlight all possibilities that could create a problem. A cause-and-effect diagram essentially lists out potential possibilities and their overall effect in contributing to any problem.

Through it, you can perform a comprehensive investigation of the root cause of a problem and ensure it doesn’t reoccur. The chart is easy to understand and is a multipurpose tool that you can also use during brainstorming sessions.

Flow efficiency chart

In the modern fast-paced environment, efficiency is an important parameter that determines success. Not only do you have to get from point A to B successfully, but you are also required to do it while consuming the least resources and in the shortest time.

Flow efficiency charts are an ideal choice for managers looking to make their processes more efficient. The flow efficiency chart originated from the Kanban methodology, but its applications are widespread. You can integrate flow efficiency charts within your reports and monitor processes without going into the details of what Kanban demands.

For any process or task, the flow efficiency shows the percentage of time when any value was being added. Things like approvals, external delays, and reviews don’t add any value despite being very important. For any successful and efficient process, the flow efficiency needs to be as high as possible. A flow efficiency chart tells you exactly what you need at a glance and helps you take measures for increased efficiency.

Cumulative flow chart

A cumulative flow chart or cumulative flow diagram is a highly advanced Agile tool that allows you to visualize an entire project and monitor multiple statuses simultaneously. Like the last option, this chart doesn’t require you to implement the nitty-gritty of the Agile methodology, but you’ll still need some knowledge to understand and implement it effectively.

Any cumulative flow chart provides you the information regarding cycle time, rate of task completion, the work completed, and what’s currently in progress. These 4 metrics allow you to obtain further information like the team’s efficiency, project status, or any bottlenecks.

For making it easier to understand the distinction between different states, the chart is also color-coded. The chart moves upward to show the amount of work you’ve completed while the horizontal axis records time.

Lead and cycle time charts

Lead and cycle times are an important project management metrics to keep an eye on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of a system/process. These terminologies are not limited to the project management sphere alone. Many functional processes and tasks use lead and cycle time to distinguish between the time a task enters a system and the time it is under process.

Lead time is defined as the entire timespan after an item is requested/ordered to the time of delivery, whereas cycle time only begins after a team member starts working on a particular item.

Lead and cycle time charts can significantly enhance your productivity and identify the problematic areas in your processes. Through a targeted approach, you can eliminate bottlenecks and improve your process efficiency without spending significant resources. Isn’t that awesome?

Final thoughts

Successfully managing modern projects requires you to use the right project management tools at the right time. Project management charts are ideal project visualizing tools that facilitate you in effectively controlling and managing progress.

Kissflow Project is designed specifically for you to forget the hassle of keeping track of tasks and managing project schedules. From task management features to enhanced project collaboration and advanced project reports. Kissflow has everything you’ll need to effectively manage your projects. So, you can focus on the big picture and ensure consistent team performance.

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