Build a SharePoint Project Management dashboard with a Gantt chart

Gantt charts are universally recognised as a clear, simple way to visualise the progress of a project and the interdependency of the tasks within that project. SharePoint used to have a built-in Gantt chart capability in a List classic view. But if you’re building a project management/task management dashboard based on a SharePoint List in a Modern site, in Microsoft 365, you’ve come to the right place because we’ve included Gantt chart capability within the ListBurst Charts package.

I think the first question worth addressing is: Why build dashboards in SharePoint instead of Excel?

  • A SharePoint page is easy to share with the entire organization - or, indeed, external users
  • Security can be customised to exactly the right audience with the correct users getting read or write access (or none)
  • Lists can be easily updated with the dashboard immediately reflecting changes
  • Native integration with the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem (PowerAutomate/Flow, Teams, Office Online)
  • Finally, SharePoint pages can be composed to include other organizational data and webparts to make an attractive landing page.

This last point leads us to what we’re building today - a great looking project management dashboard. Here’s what it’ll look like:

SharePoint Gantt chart webpart plugin

The first thing to get right is your data. To render a Gantt chart for a set of tasks, each task will need:

  • task name (text)
  • start date (date)
  • end date (date)

This will be sufficient to render the Gantt chart. However, you should consider whether you can include the following columns:

  • Dependencies (Lookup)

This is a really useful add-on - each task may depend on the completion of one or more predecessors. For this to work, you’ll need a column where each task can have its dependent tasks recorded. This allows the rendering of the black dependency lines shown on the Gantt chart above. When configuring the Lookup field, it’s simply a lookup onto the current list.

  • Category (Text, choice, people - any field type)

This optional field will allow you to group the tasks into different colors. One example is to use an ‘assigned to’ field - this way, each users’ tasks will appear a distinct color. You could also use it to illustrate the task type. In the example above, it’s used to distinguish between Research, Planning, Construction and Marketing task types.

  • Progress (number, percentage, choice)

A progress field is a useful way of illustrating how far along a particular task is. This isn’t used in the example above, but when used, each task will appear similar to a ’loading bar’ to indicate the progress of the task.

  • Bar label (text, choice, people)

Labels can be added to the bar. This is often used to indicate who the task is assigned to.

Using a SharePoint Work Progress Tracker list template

When you create a new SharePoint list, you’re presented with some really helpful template list types. The Work Progress Tracker is really well suited to a Gantt chart because it includes columns like Start Date, End Date and Progress.

Work progress tracker list template

In my case, I ended up with this list, and populated it with my tasks:

At the end, I have customised it with a ‘Depends On’ field which is simply a Lookup column pointing to the current list. It’s multi-select, meaning you can select more than one dependent task.

To render the Gantt, you need to install the ListBurst charts solution into your tenant. When you add it to a SharePoint page, and paste in the URL to your list, it’ll automatically detect that the data in the list looks like a set of tasks, and suggest a Gantt chart:

Just click the ‘Insert’ button and you’re done. The web part properties pane on the right of the page provides all the additional configuration options:

Gantt web part properties pane

That’s it!

Microsoft 365 doesn’t have an out of the box Gantt chart any more. But investing in the ListBurst dashboarding solution makes more sense than ever with the recent addition of Gantt chart support. It’s a chart type we should have included a long time ago given the levels of interest from project management users, and anyone who relied on the classic-view Gantt that was included with older versions of SharePoint. We’ll continue to work with our users to ensure that advanced use cases can be met, and changes to the Microsoft 365 service are well supported.

Please visit the charts page to install, or contact us with questions!

Sign up for product launch updates