The Incredible Story of the Gantt Chart

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Most of us see Gantt Charts within computers today. Hence, it is easy to assume that they are another offshoot of the digital era. If that’s what you thought, you are in for a surprise: for here is the incredible story of the Gantt Chart that spans across an entire century!

Rewind to the United States of 1918. The First World War has just ended. Colonel John T. Thompson, the inventor of the Thompson submachine gun, receives the Distinguished Service Medal, “for exceptionally meritorious and conspicuous service with the design and production of small arms and the ammunition thereby supplied to the U.S. army.” Thompson promptly sends a copy of this to a certain ‘Henry Laurence Gantt,’ with the following note, “A large share in this reward for the accomplishment of a great war task is due to H. L. Gantt and his assistants. The Gantt general control production chart was my compass.” Henry Gantt, mechanical engineer and management consultant, had already finished developing the Gantt Chart a few years before! 

Gantt chart

The Evolution of the Gantt Chart

Moving ahead, we reach the period when America comes under the clasp of the Great Depression. The Colorado makes its way into Arizona from Nevada through an arid, desolate stretch called the Black Canyon. And at this location, to control floods and generate power, the Congress authorizes the construction of the world’s biggest and heaviest dam. Apart from the sheer scale of the endeavor, torrid desert environment, the need to use unproven techniques and the lack of facilities at the venue, present additional hurdles. Still, Six Companies Inc, a consortium of construction companies takes up this challenge and turns in the ‘Hoover Dam’ to the government two years ahead of schedule! It stands today as a monument of courage of the 21,000 men who built it and attracts about a million visitors every year. And once again, Gantt Charts are given credit for playing a key role in the management of such a massive project.

As time progresses, the charts continue to get used in one successful project after another. The areas of application are various ranging from construction to finance and shipping to administration. Personal computers emerge in the 1980s and Gantt Charts become more complex and elaborate than ever before. With the internet gaining popularity, they begin to get employed in web based applications.


In the August of 2006, we launched Zoho Projects, our web based project management app. Taking into account the significance of the Gantt Chart, we shipped the very first version featuring one. We bear in mind that it is indeed a great journey that has brought the Gantt general control production chart of the first world war to the Gantt view that comes to you from the Zoho cloud today. And this inspires us to take the story further in interesting, new ways.

On that note, we are happy to announce that we’ve rolled out a set of new enhancements to our Gantt Chart. The Gantt view now has two charts; the one you have been viewing shows task bars sequentially and we’re calling it the ‘Chronology Chart.’ We have added a new ‘Milestone Chart’ to give you the bigger picture. You can now view your milestones, the task lists they contain, and the tasks in these; all in one place.

The only way to set dependencies between tasks was to go to the dependencies view; not any more. You can now do this right within the Gantt Chart. Just click and hold on the predecessor task bar and drag to the dependent task bar, and your dependency is set. 

You could set the period for which you viewed the chart to the current month, the previous month, the whole year or a custom period of your choice. We’ve added a new option here called ‘project span’ that  automatically displays the chart for the duration of the project.

Please view the below video for a detailed walk through of the new features. Our Getting Started Guide also has an article on Gantt Charts.

UPDATE: These enhancements were well received and we have launched a newer set of updates. The Incredible Story of the Gantt Chart continues here.


  1. ‘The Gantt Chart, a working tool of management,’ Wallace Clark, The Roland Press Company, 1923
  2. MegaStructures – Hoover Dam (National Geographic Documentary)
  3. Wikipedia articles on related topics (

Meet us @ CeBIT 2014, Sydney

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CeBITAustraliaHere’s  some exciting news for the SMBs in and around Sydney! We’re taking part in CeBIT Australia, the business technology fair of 2014 being held in Sydney Olympic Park, Australia.

Visit us at Stand J-61, where we will be showcasing how you can manage your business with our products, particularly Zoho CRM, Zoho Campaigns and Zoho Creator.

If you’re already using these apps, we’d love to hear about your experiences with Zoho.

We look forward to meeting you there!

Why Major League Baseball’s Opening Day Matters to Your Sales Team

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I revel in the days of old when baseball was truly, “America’s Pastime.”

opening-day-baseball-2014It’s not anymore. Hasn’t been for years. That’s become exponentially evident thanks to a slew of problems ranging from a decrease in game attendance to the lack of national stars like there are in the NBA and NFL. People say the games are too slow, the season is too long and the games are, well…boring.

I’ve heard every complaint and statistic to no avail. It doesn’t matter to me. I anticipate Opening Day every spring the way a child anticipates summer vacation. Baseball season is my paradise.

So here we are once again. March 31, 2014. Opening day for the 2014 Major League Baseball season. My beloved Texas Rangers start their season at 1:05 CT against the Philadelphia Phillies, and soon, all will be right with the world.

So why am I talking about baseball here? I believe there are a number of lessons sales teams can learn from the game of baseball. So before I go on about the greatest sport around for too much longer, let’s look at some fundamental concepts sales teams, sales managers and even entrepreneurs can take from the baseball diamond.

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Get the Most Out of Your SXSW Interactive Experience

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sxswi-2104Every year it’s the same. You spend months looking at the schedule, planning your every move and RSVPing to dozens of parties; then, like footsteps in sand at high tide, SXSW Interactive is gone, and with it, your chance at networking with some of the most influential people in the world.

Where did the time go? Did you make the most of your week? Are you coming home with relevant connections that will move you and your business forward in the coming months and years?

If you’ve been to SXSW Interactive in the past, you know the pandemonium that is about to ensue starting today and lasting through next week. If this is your first SXSW, get ready for one of the most unique, exciting and physically draining experiences of your life.

In its 27 years, SXSW has gone from a music conference with roughly 300 badge holders to a music, film and interactive festival with over 50,000 attendees. There are movie stars, rock stars and technology stars who have launched some of the most celebrated works of art and creative ideas of the last decade.

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SMS Notifications on Zoho Creator: Helps you reach out

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Does your business feel the need to reach out to your customers with intimations, updates or alerts? For instance, you may want to notify your customers about a change in tariff, send them a confirmation, communicate new/enhanced offerings or it could just be to build a rapport with the customers.

As evident as it is, you need good communication and engagement practices for your products/services for the customers to build/retain faith in you. The method of communication used plays a key role besides the message itself. And each unique situation is best complemented by a specific channel of communication.

As a product, Zoho Creator is constantly evolving. We are finding new ways to make it easier for our customers to do effective business with their customers. Since communication has become an important facet of a business, we are bringing in new solutions that cater to such requirements of our customers. One such offering which we have recently developed is the SMS notification.

As per statistics, 97% of the text messages are opened compared to only 5% of emails, while 83% of the text messages are opened immediately or within 3 minutes of their arrival, emails have a much larger gap period. Needless to say, SMS has penetrated as a preferred channel of communication for the short & important messages.

Now it is easy to send a “Thank you” SMS when a customer fills out an order form. You could select the notification option when records are modified. The next requirement that pops up commonly in businesses is to notify when a condition/criteria is met. For this, we have a Rule Builder, which makes it easy to set the conditions and invoke an SMS notification. The combined power of the SMS notification and Rule Builder empowers you to meet many business requirements easily. To make it more convenient for you, Zoho Creator has integrated with popular services like Clickatell and Twilio.

Yet, there maybe requirements that may not be solved with both. For instance, you may want to remind your users at a particular time, like on the day of appointment. In such a scenario, you could simply schedule the SMS notification. For similar and other more complex requirements, we have provided predefined deluge script functions. Just create a schedule with an appropriate configuration and write a single line of code and the appointment reminder workflow is ready.

Want to take a spin, just checkout the SMS Notification and Rule Builder.


Meet Zoho at TFM&A 2014, London!

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We are delighted to be exhibiting at the Technology for Marketing & Advertising, 2014 in Earls Court 2, London on the 25th and the 26th of February, 2014. TFM&A is the UK’s biggest media, marketing and advertising event. We will be presenting our Sales & Marketing products, particularly CRM, Campaigns, Survey and others.

Zoho at TFM&ACatch us at Stand# H26.
Drop in for a free demo of our products. Or tell us your specific business requirements and we’ll help you address them with Zoho.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Lessons from a Coffee Mill for All Small Business Owners

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Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetCoffee touches everyone differently. For some, coffee is essential to functioning the way motor oil is essential to a combustion engine or oxygen to fire.

Some drink coffee because it’s become part of their daily routine alongside showering and getting dressed. It’s a habit.

Others — my roommate for example — drink coffee through their nostrils and are perfectly content with never letting it touch their lips. It is an aroma of comfort. An aroma of home.

Coffee has a sense of nostalgia and urgency. Of past memories and of days ahead. John Steinbeck may have said it best when he wrote, “coffee has a special taste of a frosty morning, and the third cup is as good as the first.”

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