Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (2023)

The world of project management contains many powerful tools, including numerous graphical charts and visual hierarchical structures.

“Gantt Chart vs. WBS” is an important topic that should not be ignored as it is crucial to differentiate these tools, understand their purposes and scope.

Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not synonymous and often refer to different management tools.

It seems that all structures similar to a Gantt chart have already been identified and explored, since we recently analyzed important pairs such as:

  • Gantt-Diagramm vs. Kanban.
  • Gantt-Diagram vs. script.
  • Gantt chart versus timeline.

However, WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) is worth adding to this list.

Let's go into detail to find out.


  • What is a Gantt Chart?
  • Examples of Gantt charts.
  • Gantt chart tools.
  • What is a PSP?
  • Examples of HOS.
  • The difference between a WBS and a project plan.
  • PSP-Tools.
  • Gantt-Diagramm vs. PSP.
  • How to convert a WBS to a Gantt chart?
  • How to import WBS from Excel.

What is a Gantt Chart?

A Gantt chart is a bar chart that shows a project's progress, timeline, and dependencies—all in a highly visual and easy-to-understand view. This is one of the most commonly used management tools forproject planningand control.

The chart was developed by the American Henry Gantt over a hundred years ago.

This allows you to plan projects and the corresponding tasks and get an overview of the entire course of the project.

Here are the main elements of a typical Gantt chart:

  • ONEtimeline– the backbone of graphics. It's more than a regular timeline where you can see how your project activities are progressing. A Gantt chart allows users to zoom in and out on their timelines and add more valuable items.
  • ONEBar– a visual representation of a project or task. It shows the increase in time and allows you to see who is busy with that task.
  • resources– what makes your projects work (people, equipment and machines that make projects a success).
  • dependencies– show how your tasks are connected.
  • successes– measure the progress of the project and show how it is approaching the defined goals.

Additionally, on the chart, you can see the estimated time for each activity, comments from team members, activity overlaps, deadlines, and more.

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (1)

Some people agree that a Gantt chart looks like a set of dominoes. What do you think? 🙂

Examples of Gantt charts

A bar chart is commonly used to display a work plan, track progress, and monitor task implementation. In search of real lifeExamples of Gantt chartsyou will find clear cases from project management, construction, software development, marketing, event planning, corporate planning and other areas and industries.

Here's an example of how you can apply the chart to create an SEO marketing plan.

(Video) Project Management in Under 5: What is a Gantt Chart?

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (2)

All information is best learned in a concrete, real-life case and examples of relevant tools you can apply.


With the help of a Gantt chart, you can see how your project tasks are progressing, what your resources are involved in, and what specific start and end dates are. This makes it an ideal project management tool for teams working on plans, stakeholders or clients who need a progress overview.

It's easy to create a Gantt chart with some popular work tools like Excel. However, to take planning to a higher professional level, you need to employ a robust and reliable system. ANDGanttPROis one of the best solutions that deserves your attention.

GanttPRO allows you to create a powerful Gantt chart online for different types of projects. You can use it to plan and manage single or multiple projects in minutes.

Just choose the option to create a project from scratch or select a free ready-made template for your sphere. For example, for one of the top 3 industries using project management tools: IT, financial services, and marketing (like for Capterrato searchvon 2019).

This tool will teach you quicklyHow to read a Gantt chartas well as create and manage without unnecessary headaches.

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (3)

Here are some of the main features of the tool:

  • Task planning and scheduling.
  • Gantt chart templates.
  • Drag and drop functionality.
  • Deadlines and Notifications.
  • Delegate projects and tasks.
  • prioritization of tasks.
  • time tracking.
  • data exchange.
  • import export.
  • reports and much more.

To beOnline Gantt Chartmaker will keep your planning easy, team members engaged, and clients in the loop.

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (4)

Project management software for Gantt charts

Create a visual breakdown of hierarchical data using a Gantt chart.

Sign up for free

After analyzing the famous histogram in detail, it's time to learn more details about your opponent in the Gantt Chart vs. HBS duo.

What is a work breakdown structure?

A WBS is a detailed tree structure of the various tasks and deliverables that must be completed to complete a project.

Companies that don't appreciate project managementexperience70% more design errors. So good work organization seems to be a 'life saver' for many and WBS can really help.

What is aworktear offstructurein project management?

In addition to a Gantt chart, this structure forms the basis of project planning. These two approaches are probably the most common project management tools.

(Video) Gantt Charts, Simplified - Project Management Training

Project managers use the HOS to break down large projects so things get done faster and more efficiently.

Breaking them down into smaller parts means that work can be done simultaneously by different team members. This leads to better team productivity and successful project management.

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (5)

Why is WBS important in project management?

WBS creation has the following practical benefits:

  • Provides clarity about the tasks to be performed. It reduces complexity by breaking the whole project into smaller phases.
  • Increases efficiency. WBS ensures that all necessary steps are taken and a realistic schedule can be executed.
  • Gives everyone involved in the project an overview of the current status, from which they can derive where their tasks lie.
  • Improves communication. Full representation of the WBS can support communication as it increases transparency and encourages effective discussions.
  • Creates the basis for further planning. The WBS is also the prerequisite for determining whether more detailed plans are required. Reduces the risk of unplanned and unexpected costs.

Examples of work breakdown structures

Your WBS may be different for each project. Sometimes it takes time to experiment and figure out which work breakdown structure works best for your team.

The main idea is to show the hierarchy of your projects and make the progress clear for everyone involved.

A Gantt chart can be considered as one of the most famous examples of WBS. You can organize your work breakdown structure as a Gantt chart that links task dependencies and reflects project milestones.

Here are some more PSP examples:

  • HBS table (where you can also write down different phases, tasks or results in columns and rows).
  • PSP-Flussdiagramm.
  • List PSP.

Use anyExample of a work breakdown structureyou can organize and manage your events. For example seasonal team building activities or your holiday trip. See how it can be:

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (6)

What is the difference between a WBS and a project plan?

A project plan and a WBS are different management tools and generally do not refer to the same concept. (Hope you rememberhow to create a project planwith all the necessary details and nuances).

  • The WBS is at the center of project planning. Managers use it to break down the project into manageable elements. It provides them with a hierarchical view of all the work required to complete their projects.
  • A project plan creates an overall framework that guides all further planning. This document defines how the project will be managed and controlled.


Creating the WBS is a reliable way to get a project off the ground and ensure its efficient execution.

There are many software solutions for work breakdown structures. Choosing one gives you an easy way to outline project scope and deliverables.

creativeis a well-designed diagramming tool and work breakdown structure that looks perfect to visualize any concept or idea you have. The platform offers visually appealing and presentation-worthy charts for various purposes.

This WBS tool is widely used by teams who want to visualize their ideas, concepts, plans, and processes. Business owners, project managers, designers, engineers, business analysts, educators, HR professionals and many others can benefit from it.

Creately offers user-friendly settings and powerful features, including:

(Video) WBS/Gantt Charts - A Presentation for Project Management

  • Useful flowcharts, org charts, wireframes, UI diagrams and other visualizations.
  • A template library with over 1000 templates.
  • Document Management.
  • Drag and drop for quick design.
  • Work in groups.
  • Brainstorming Function.
  • Export in different formats.
  • comment management.

To get closer to the point, see how a bridge building project can be accomplished using this online WBS tool.

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (7)

We analyzed both tools and now it would be useful to briefly highlight the main points of their differences.

Gantt-Diagramm vs. PSP

Project management professionals typically use a WBS to show what they're doing and use a Gantt chart to visualize when they're doing it.

Let's take a look at some more crucial differences between the two frameworks.

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (8)

When to Use a Gantt Chart?

Handling project management with a Gantt chart ensures numerous benefits including detailed scheduling, accurate task planning, greater efficiency and greater accountability.

Here are some key points to help you choose your chart:

  • It displays a detailed timeline of tasks related to a project on two axes.
  • It visualizes project tasks with their dependencies, critical project milestones and other essential details. It shows the start and end dates of each task and their relationship to each other.
  • It can be useful throughout the project.
  • It is often used for schedule control.
  • You can create it using a bar chart system using various tools (from simple Excel to complex project management software solutions).

When should a work breakdown structure be used?

A work breakdown structure will help you in any case if you need to break down your project into a hierarchy of deliverables and tasks.

Note the following characteristics of this method:

  • It is an organizational chart or tree diagram, with all parts connected and without redundancy.
  • Doesn't show tasks ordered in time order. Managers use it to define scope, estimate costs, allocate resources, manage risk, and create schedules.
  • Seems to be very useful at the start of a project (unlike Henry Gantt's invention which can aid the entire project).
  • It is used for scope control including change management.
  • You can visualize it with a Gantt chart, flowchart, spreadsheet, or a list of different tools and approaches.

How to convert a WBS to a Gantt chart?

In this part of the article, you should be sure that it is possible to turn a WBS into a Gantt chart without unnecessary headaches. But how do you do that in practice?

Let's remember GanttPRO again as it can become your real helper in building a visually attractive work breakdown structure.

DarinPSP Creator,You can start and manage any number of projects with an unlimited number of tasks.

So when you have your first project, you can easily create a list of tasks and subtasks. By adding a custom WBS list box, you can easily sort your to-do list to show the hierarchy you want.

Check out how effective it looks:

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (9)

How to import WBS from Excel

As mentioned above, like a Gantt chart, a WBS can be created using simple tools. For example, you can create the WBS in Excel in minutes.

(Video) Difference Between Gantt Chart And Work Breakdown Structure WBS

In addition, you can easily transfer any project created in Microsoft Excel to GanttPRO and continue working on project plans with your team and customers.

How do I transfer a WBS from Excel?

To import your WBS numbered project into Excel, pressimport(when creating a new project), drag and drop, or upload from your computer.

Don't forget to define the task number in your WBS so that GanttPRO can correctly determine the position of the tasks in the project.

Gantt Chart vs WBS: Choosing Two Reliable Ways to Plan Your Project (10)

Follow the steps above and present WBS numbering from Excel with GanttPRO like a real pro.

And if you want more details on importing Excel projects into GanttPRO, watch this video:

last words

A work breakdown structure and a Gantt chart are the essential tools in project management. That's why the "Gantt Chart vs. WBS" feels real and raises a lot of questions.

The HOS can be viewed as the skeleton of your future project plan. It guides decisions related to setting project scope, identifying tasks, and allocating resources. Therefore, modern PM tools include the option to create a Gantt chart within the Work Breakdown Structure functionality.

Both concepts make it possible to inform teams about the progress made. They increase team efficiency and lead individuals to successful decisions.

It only remains to consider that the topic of “Graph PSP vs. Gantt Chart” will not be fully realized without the hands-on use of robust PM software.

Make the most of the powerful chart created by Henry Gantt and create a visually stunning work breakdown structure!


Item Classification

(Video) Gantt Charts vs. Roadmaps: Creating Your Next Project Plan | PM72 Summit


What are two differences between WBS and Gantt charts? ›

Difference Between WBS and Gantt Chart

Work breakdown structures show what you are making, and Gantt charts show when you are doing so. The WBS breaks down work hierarchically, from top to bottom. The Gantt chart is linear and displays time progression from left to right.

What is the difference between WBS and Gantt chart? ›

Work Breakdown Structure VS Gantt Chart: What Should You Use? The WBS breaks down what you are building for the project into smaller, more manageable components. The WBS shows what you are doing and the Gantt chart shows when you are doing it.

What is 1 benefit of choosing a Gantt chart for project scheduling? ›

Gantt charts allow you to use your resources effectively as you get to see a project's timeline where you can easily see how and where resources are being utilized. Within Gantt charts, you can also delegate tasks and align resources without burdening them with too much work.

Do you use WBS for Gantt chart? ›

Use your WBS as the basis for your Gantt chart to track tasks across time. The Gantt chart shows the start and finish date of each task, their dependencies, and their relationship to each other.

Why the WBS is so important to a project? ›

WBS helps to allocate tasks. When a project is broken down into manageable tasks or packages, it becomes a lot easier to assign these to the appropriate individual. This helps your team plan around other work that needs to be completed outside of the project in question. WBS improves communication.

Why the WBS is considered the most important tool of the project manager? ›

A good WBS is important for defining the scope of a project. The WBS is the major input into the creation of the project schedule, budget, and risk plan. The more you involve your team in the creation of the WBS, the more they will understand the scope of the project and their role in its delivery.

What does a Gantt chart have that is not typically included in a WBS? ›

11.1_03 What does a Gantt chart have that is not typically included in a WBS? Explanation: What makes a Gantt slightly different is the setting of dependencies.

What is the importance of timelines and Gantt charts or Work Breakdown Structure? ›

A Gantt chart depicts the completion of each work in a project using timelines. These timelines explain how the various tasks are connected. Gantt charts are useful because they show the activities and progress of a project. Gantt charts show how work on a project can only begin after another task has been completed.

What is the main difference between a WBS and a project schedule? ›

WBS vs Project Plan

The main difference between the two is the scope as a WBS covers the project in its entirety while a project plan focuses on a smaller part of a project. So a project can have a WBS that compartmentalizes it into several parts. Each of these parts would then have a project plan.

What are the 3 main benefits of using a Gantt chart? ›

The main benefits of Gantt Charts are: easy to schedule the tasks, easy to understand, clear and visual representation of time frames. And easy to add dependencies and predecessors, creatively showing your project plans. And the major disadvantages of Gantt Charts are: Complexity in Preparing and Managing the Chart.

What is the disadvantage of using Gantt charts? ›

Disadvantages of a Gantt chart

You have to know the entire project: a Gantt chart is difficult to use for a project if they have no clear end goal, or where you do not know what exactly is involved. To be able to use a Gantt chart well, you must have all the intermediate steps clear from start to finish.

Why is Gantt chart considered as the most useful project management tool? ›

Gantt charts are useful for planning and scheduling projects. They help you assess how long a project should take, determine the resources needed, and plan the order in which you'll complete tasks. They're also helpful for managing the dependencies between tasks.

When should a Gantt chart not be used? ›

Don't use your Gantt chart for an initial project plan

What major tasks are involved with your project. Roughly how long those tasks should take. The general order those tasks should flow in.

Is a WBS a project plan? ›

The WBS is a foundational project management component, and as such, is a critical input to other project management processes and deliverables such as activity definitions, project schedule network diagrams, project and program schedules, performance reports, risk analysis and response, control tools, or project ...

Who benefits from a WBS? ›

WBS Project Management facilitates communication and cooperation between and among the project team and other stakeholders. WBS Project Management shows the hierarchy of the project work and deliverables of project scope, completed work, remaining work, and project team members working on the same work package, etc.

What is the main limitation of a Gantt chart when using for project management? ›

The Main Challenges of Gantt Charts. One of the primary challenges when using Gantt charts is their complexity in large projects. The charts can also fail to represent the complexities of certain tasks and the time your team requires to complete them.

What is the most important thing in the WBS? ›

Creating a WBS: Important Rules to Follow

Your Work Breakdown Structure must cover 100% of the project scope – no more, no less. Therefore, be sure to include all the relevant deliverables, operational elements, sub-units and work packages in the hierarchy. The WBS must be as detailed as it's only possible.

Why would a project manager choose to change a work breakdown structure WBS from the standard template provided within the project management methodology? ›

The project manager would change the WBS to facilitate the use of new project management software. The project manager wants to organize the WBS based upon the approach that he or she will be using to manage and track the work of the project.

Can we have a project without WBS? ›

A WBS is not required to be created in any type of order or sequence. It is simply a visual breakdown of deliverables.

Which of the following is not a benefit of WBS? ›

CompTIa Project+ lesson 4
Which of the following is not a benefit of a WBS?A.WBS is an excellent tool for team building. B.A WBS helps prevent critical work from being overlooked. C.A WBS can become a template for future projects. D.A WBS can be used to describe how the deliverables will be validated.
26 more rows

How do you convert a Gantt chart to WBS? ›

Create WBS Charts from Gantt Excel Plans

Open your Gantt Excel Project file. Select the Project Plan from the list. And almost instantly, WBS Creator creates a professional looking WBS Chart in literally milliseconds. You can even click on the task names to open up the Task Detail form.

What is the purpose of Gantt chart? ›

A Gantt chart is a project management tool assisting in the planning and scheduling of projects of all sizes; they are particularly useful for visualising projects. A Gantt chart is defined as a graphical representation of activity against time; it helps project professionals monitor progress.

Which comes first WBS or project plan? ›

A WBS should be created before a detailled project plan as it is a basis to estimate the resources needed and to create a cost and time schedule. What is not mentioned in the WBS, will not be part of the project's scope and therefore not be delivered.

What are the two different ways of creating a WBS? ›

There are two types of work breakdown structures commonly employed in project management: the process-oriented WBS and deliverable-oriented WBS. Contrary to popular belief, both structures can (and should) be used when defining your project scope.

What is a WBS and what is its purpose when planning a project schedule? ›

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a hierarchical outline of the tasks required to complete a project. The WBS “breaks down” the structure of a project into manageable deliverables. Each deliverable is assigned a task, or series of tasks that can be further broken down into subtasks to meet the needs of the project.

What is Gantt chart and its advantages? ›

You know that a Gantt chart is a horizontal bar graph that, at a glance, shows you the tasks your team needs to work on, how long it'll take your team to do them, task dependencies, and when activities will start and end. What you might not know, however, is that Gantt charts may not the right tool in every situation.

What is one of the biggest shortcomings of Gantt charts? ›

One of the biggest shortcomings of Gantt charts is that they are static. They also fail to show how tasks are related. These problems can be solved, however, by using two other scheduling techniques, the critical path method and PERT.

Are Gantt charts accurate? ›

With its accurate data visualization, a Gantt chart allows you to set clear deadlines that help you achieve work on time. Also, this helps you monitor project progress. This further ensures that you reach the project finish line within the set timeframe without compromising the project quality.

Are Gantt charts still viable project management tools? ›

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that represents your project schedule visually. The Gantt chart was the first formal technique for managing projects and is still a staple tool in project management today.

What kind of projects are Gantt charts best suited for? ›

It consists of a list of tasks and bars depicting each task's progress. It's the most widely used chart in project management. Gantt charts are used in heavy industries for projects like building dams, bridges, and highways, as well as software development and building out of other goods and services.

Is a Gantt chart same as a project management plan Why? ›

Compared to a project plan, a Gantt chart is much more limited in the type of information it conveys. However, the advantage is that chart does a much better way to visually presenting data. Typically you'll find the following information in a Gantt chart.

Is Gantt chart the best? ›

Gantt charts are excellent project management tools. They use horizontal bars to denote the amount of work done in certain periods of time relative to the amount of work planned for those periods. Gantt chart software can help track and manage tasks for any scheduled project.

What is the difference between Gantt chart and WBS? ›

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a diagram that shows what a project will achieve or build, including project scope. A Gantt chart is a visual that uses bars to illustrate the timeline of the project activities.

What is the biggest mistake when designing a Gantt chart? ›

Too little makes your plan too high-level and impossible to estimate, and too much makes your plan too complicated with too many tasks.

Can a WBS be a Gantt chart? ›

Work Breakdown Structure examples

A Gantt chart can be considered one of the famous WBS examples. You can organize your Work Breakdown Structure as a Gantt diagram that links task dependencies and reflects project milestones.

What is the difference between WBS and the work package? ›

A work package is the lowest component in a work breakdown structure (WBS), sometimes called the terminal element of a WBS. You create a work package when you decompose a deliverable into components while creating a work breakdown structure.

What is the difference between WBS and activity? ›

WBS work packages tend to still be representing the "what" whereas activities are much more focused on the "how". For example, a work package in my "Cook Christmas Dinner" project's WBS might be Baking a fruit cake. The activities would be the major individual steps in the recipe to bake the fruit cake.

What is a disadvantage of a Gantt chart *? ›

Disadvantages of a Gantt chart

You have to know the entire project: a Gantt chart is difficult to use for a project if they have no clear end goal, or where you do not know what exactly is involved. To be able to use a Gantt chart well, you must have all the intermediate steps clear from start to finish.

What is the importance of timelines and Gantt charts or work breakdown structure? ›

A Gantt chart depicts the completion of each work in a project using timelines. These timelines explain how the various tasks are connected. Gantt charts are useful because they show the activities and progress of a project. Gantt charts show how work on a project can only begin after another task has been completed.

Is WBS a project planning tool? ›

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a project management tool that takes a step-by-step approach to complete large projects with several moving pieces. By breaking down the project into smaller components, a WBS can integrate scope, cost and deliverables into a single tool.

What is the WBS typically used for? ›

The Work Breakdown Structure is used for many different things. Initially, it serves as a planning tool to help the project team plan, define and organize scope with deliverables. The WBS is also used as the primary source of schedule and cost estimate activities.

Is WBS a good communication tool? ›

Effective communication is a critical project success factor. The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a powerful tool for making sure that there is a common language for discussing and reporting on the work required to complete the project.


1. How to create a Gantt Chart in MS Excel, using Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): Project Management
(Terrena Hooper)
2. Lesson 2 - Project Scheduling 101 - Project schedule network diagram and Gantt Chart from the WBS
(Americo e-Learning)
3. Work Breakdown Structure [WBS EXPLAINED]
(Adriana Girdler)
4. What is a Gantt Chart? [DEFINITION + EXAMPLE]
(Adriana Girdler)
5. The Work Breakdown Structure
(Michael Ogunseyin)
6. How to build a WBS in Microsoft Project
(Tom Henry)


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