Henry L Gantt, 1861 – 1919 Debunking the myths, a retrospective view of his work


By Patrick Weaver

Melbourne, Australia

Henry Laurence Gantt, A.B., M.E. was an American mechanical engineer and management consultant who is best known for developing the Gantt chart in the 1910s. However, the charts Henry Gantt developed and used are nothing like the charts that are erroneously referred to as ‘Gantt Charts’ by modern project managers.

It is a tragedy that Gantt’s real contributions to the advancement of management science are obscured by two glaring misconceptions that continue to be perpetuated by sloppy scholarship with various authors repeating earlier incorrect assertions without ever bothering to check the original source materials. This article is intended to set the record straight and recognise Gantt for his real achievements!

Henry Gantt was a very important management scientist; his contribution to production engineering is rightly recognised by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) by awarding an annual medal in his honour. The Henry Laurence Gantt Medal, was established in 1929 and elevated to a Society award in 1999, it is given for distinguished achievement in management and for service to the community.

Hopefully by the time you have finished this paper, you will agree the following myths should be ‘busted’ once and for all:

Misconception #1 Henry Gantt developed ‘Bar Charts’ – Fact, bar charts were developed 100 years before Gantt, his charts were sophisticated production control tools, not simple representations of activities over time.

Misconception #2 Henry Gantt contributed to the development of ‘project management’ – this is a complete fallacy, Gantt’s work was in machine shops and factories focused on batch production and factory throughput. Many of his ideas can be adapted to modern project management but Gantt sought to eliminate ‘one-off’ jobs that could not be batched and managed efficiently.


To read entire paper (click here)

About the Author

Patrick Weaver


Patrick Weaver, PMP, PMI-SP, FAICD, FCIOB, is the Managing Director of Mosaic Project Services Pty Ltd, an Australian project management consultancy specialising in project control systems and a PMI Registered Education Provider.  Patrick is also the business manager of Stakeholder Management Pty Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building, Australasia (FCIOB) and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD). He is a member of the PMI College of Scheduling, and the PMI Melbourne Chapter (Australia), as well a full member of AIPM, APM (UK) and the College of Performance Management.  Patrick has over 35 years experience in Project Management.  His career was initially focused on the planning and managing of construction, engineering and infrastructure projects in the UK and Australia. The last 25 years has seen his businesses and experience expand to include the successful delivery of project scheduling services and PMOs in a range of government, ICT and business environments; with a strong focus on project management training.  His consultancy work encompasses: developing and advising on project schedules, developing and presenting PM training courses, managing the development of internal project control systems for client organisations, and assisting with dispute resolution and claims management.  He is a qualified Arbitrator.  In the last few years, Patrick has sought to ‘give back’ to the industry he has participated in since leaving college through contributions to the development of the project management profession.  In addition to his committee roles he has presented papers at a wide range of project management conferences in the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia, has an on-going role with the PMOZ conference in Australia and is part of the Australian delegation to ISO TC258.  Patrick can be contacted at [email protected] or at www.mosaicprojects.com.au.