Timelines and Gantt charts

eggtimer

Image © https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8JQW3137tA

Google definition of: ‘Gantt chart’
/gant/noun: Gantt chart; plural noun: Gantt charts
1. a chart in which a series of horizontal lines shows the amount of work done or production completed in certain periods of time in relation to the amount planned for those periods.
Origin
early 20th century: named after Henry L. Gantt (1861–1919), American management consultant.

Ok I confess until I entered the realm of research I didn’t know what a ‘gantt chart’ was! But this morning when I woke up and started getting ready for one of the last days of uni / work before Christmas I thought I should check my gantt chart. It seems appropriate to do this as I am coming up to the end of my first quarter of my PhD.

And what an exciting quarter it has been. On checking my chart I can tell you I have completed the things I set out to do and even a few more. Although I have also found that things don’t always go to plan. For example you may go down a path to start a systematic review of the literature to find someone else got there first. On checking this out you consider perhaps to update their review. This detailed consideration and informed decision making all takes time. Time, which you have strictly packaged into small parcels on your gantt chart. It would be preferable not to waste any of this precious time. There are so many other things on the chart which you must get on with.

Having said all that the gantt chart is a guide to keep you to the path, it’s a trail of breadcrumbs so you don’t get lost. The nature of a PhD takes you on many detours, treks off the gantt chart road. On micro adventures into new uncharted and perhaps highly relevant territory. This is not a waste of gantt chart time. This is a lived experience, a true detective story. Each new puzzle piece could hold a clue to the next and so develop a richer, more useful PhD project at the end of the road.

The gantt chart must and does account for this. I am right on track. And although I may or may not be doing a systematic review, it has been really useful to venture into that area as I have gathered some useful information on route to make my project a richer one and myself a better clinical-researcher.

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