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Show Notes:

In this episode of Workflow, Brian and Tom talk about if Gantt charts are dead or not.

00:41    Intro (Gantt, iPhone tip, Zoom Chrome Extension)
08:13    What is a Gantt chart?
12:32    The history of Gantt charts
15:30    Are Gantt Charts dead?
29:23   How Gantt charts are useful
33:04   Tips for taking action!

Useful Links

iPhone cursor trick
Zoom Chrome Extension
Henry Gantt’s Book – Organizing Work – Free download
Ganttchart.com – Evolution of the Gantt Chart

Full Transcription

Brian: 00:00 This is Workflow, episode 22.

Brian: 00:14 Workflow is the podcast that helps teams figure out the best way to work, collaborate and get stuff done. Brought to you by Rindle.

Brian: 00:21 Hey everyone. I’m Brian.

Tom: 00:30 And I’m Tom.

Brian: 00:31 And we’re the co-founders of Rindle, and this is our podcast Workflow. Today we’re talking about whether Gantt charts are dead or not. So what’s going on, Tom?

Tom: 00:41 A lot of things actually. Yeah, so we’re making good progress on Gantt for Rindle, which ironically enough is perfect timing for this episode. We actually have gotten a little bit of customer feedback on some early working examples of it, which is nice. Yeah, it’s coming along.

Brian: 01:07 Yeah, it was great to share what we’re working on with some outside folks, especially customers and get early feedback because it actually was insightful and opened our eyes to a couple things. We have another one of those next week, so I’m excited about that as well.

Tom: 01:23 Yeah, and it actually has definitely changed some things, simplified some things, actually some thoughts that we had for the initial version I think. On top of that, actually, I was just … Prior to this meeting, I was reading a little article about this iPhone trick that I have never heard of before and it’s pretty awesome actually. If you’re typing something, like you know how it’s typically hard to move the cursor back or wherever you have to go. It’s a pain. So you can actually press your space bar and hold it, and it turns into a cursor navigator basically. You can then move the cursor anywhere in the text box just right from the space bar.

Brian: 02:10 How do you move it? Do you hit the space bar again?

Tom: 02:12 Nope. Literally, you just push and hold the space bar, and it just starts moving, like the cursor starts moving. So you can just move it around.

Brian: 02:20 How do you move it?

Tom: 02:22 With your finger, with whatever finger-

Brian: 02:23 Oh, it just activates it, and then you just drag around instead of holding and pressing the old day where you have to wait for the cursor to pop up in between two letters?

Tom: 02:32 Exactly, yeah. You just move it almost like an old school finger pointer mouse type thing-

Brian: 02:40 Cool.

Tom: 02:40 … just within the little … Yeah. It was in some mainstream news source. It apparently was a tweet that someone put out that went viral, and it’s just crazy. This stuff’s just like undocumented little features I feel like.

Brian: 02:55 Well, I’ll use that one for sure. That’s probably why it went viral. But I’ll probably use that on a daily basis.

Tom: 03:03 Yeah, I think I will too actually. It’s just really unbelievable. I’ve had an iPhone for a really long time now, and yeah, it’s crazy to learn something that changing.

Brian: 03:15 How did you find out about it?

Tom: 03:17 It was just some news article that I was reading on my phone actually. It’s like a top news story.

Brian: 03:26 Pressing news.

Tom: 03:27 Yeah.

Brian: 03:28 This is a top news story. Breaking news everyone. Stop what you’re doing.

Tom: 03:32 Yeah, so it’s pretty, pretty cool. Awesome. So what’s going on with you?

Brian: 03:37 Yeah, not much. One little productivity hack for myself. That probably isn’t rocket science here, but for some reason I didn’t know about it ahead of time and just really realized they have it. But Zoom … I was really complaining about the fact that I had to go to Zoom and create my meetings from there to get it, because it integrates from Zoom into the calendar, into Google Calendar. So that was my process, and either I missed it, or it’s something new, but I don’t think it’s new. But they have a Chrome plugin, and it just makes it a lot easier because now I can … It just puts a button inside my calendar that says, “Make it a Zoom meeting,” and I click the button, and it just gives me a Zoom link.

Brian: 04:18 So a lot easier than going to Zoom and then integrating back to Google Calendar. I feel stupid because I think that’s been around for a while and I just missed it, and I was actually complaining about it for a few weeks. Then I finally … I think I saw something pop up in Zoom. That’s why I thought it was new, but I don’t think it was. But I saw it pop up, and I was like, “Oh cool. That’s what I’ve been looking for,” and I installed it. It’s a great little fix.

Tom: 04:43 Cool. Yeah, it just shows how disconnected everything is though still, because, so yeah, that’s great for your web browser, like when you’re on your computer. But if you are creating a meeting on your phone, you won’t have that, and it’s still going to be a pain.

Brian: 04:59 Yeah, and I kind of assumed because they say, “Oh, we have a Google Calendar integration, which I connected, right when I first started my Zoom account,” and I just assumed it would work through that. It would kind of be like a two-way integration, right? But all the integration does is just past the event from Zoom to Google Calendar and that’s it. So it’s a one-time transaction. There’s no talking back and forth. There’s no going the other way.

Tom: 05:25 Yeah, I mean, we know a lot about integrations, and that seems to be pretty common that people tout integrations, and they end up being very minimalistic, very simple.

Brian: 05:35 Most of my meetings I do are on my computer, so I think it will be overall helpful, and Zoom does have a mobile app. So I guess in a scenario, with my phone, I’ll be able to work around that. I don’t recall ever creating a Zoom meeting from my phone. I’ve accessed them from my phone but not create one. So maybe that’s why they don’t have it that way, but yeah, sure. I don’t think for me it’s going to be an issue, so that’s a good thing.

Tom: 06:01 Good.

Brian: 06:03 Cool. So before we get started on to the main topic, if you have questions, topics, or team scenarios you want us to tear down or talk about, certainly leave us a voicemail at 860-577-2293, or email us at workflow@rindle.com.

Tom: 06:19 Awesome. Yeah, and don’t forget to also leave us a review. It helps us to reach more people, and it keeps us doing this.

Brian: 06:28 Cool, so on to the main topic, so just to give a little background info. Today, we’re talking about Gantt charts, whether they’re dead and viable anymore and all these things. If you poke around on the internet and look around a bit, you’ll find many different people talking about Gantt charts in general. Whether they’re dead or not, whether they’re useful or not in different scenarios. So thought it’d be interesting to discuss and talk about it. You know, whether they are actually dead or not and whether they are useful.

Brian: 07:00 We can kind of get some of our own opinions on this. But before we get into that, I thought just giving a quick history. Well, starting out with what Gantt charts are actually, and if you haven’t heard of them or used them before, we’ll talk a little bit about what they are, and again, their history a little bit, and then start talking about why they are or aren’t viable.

Tom: 07:22 Awesome. Yeah, and I’ll try to keep my opinions for the later portion of this.

Brian: 07:28 Why the later portion?

Tom: 07:30 No, because, obviously, both of us have opinions about Gantt chart, and I mean opinions have shifted, as actually, we’ve even done this project, and it’s really quite interesting actually, and yeah.

Brian: 07:43 I think your take on this actually would be interesting-

Tom: 07:46 Yeah.

Brian: 07:47 … because you for one have not really used them throughout your career for the most part, not personally, like actually used it and set it up as a tool. Not that you haven’t been-

Tom: 07:57 Involved.

Brian: 07:57 … involved. Yeah. I have actually used them as a tool. So as a project manager, I used it quite a bit. So yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see your take on it. All right, so Tom, what is a Gantt chart?

Tom: 08:13 So yeah, a Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project’s schedule. It’s actually not your typical bar chart that is vertical. It’s actually like a horizontal bar chart. I mean, I guess in theory it could also be vertical, but it makes more horizontal, and you have tasks that are to be performed, and they’re listed on the vertical axis and then time interval’s on the horizontal axis.

Brian: 08:44 Yeah, and typically those time intervals to actually scroll over, which is nice too. So if you think about a stagnant bar chart, right? That doesn’t really flow outside of the dataset, or Gantt charts typically will go beyond that in time, right? So you can actually go beyond the tests that are scheduled.

Tom: 09:03 Sure, yeah, especially on the internet, they definitely do that. But traditionally, I mean, I guess when people were doing pen and paper, they really were quite literally charts, which is I guess where they got the name Gantt chart from. Cool.

Brian: 09:23 The width of the horizontal bars in the graph shows the duration of each task. So typically, it has a start date or a start date, end date, or sometimes they just talk about start date with duration. So it basically has a period of time that that task lives. So let’s say it’s a couple days. It’ll actually be the width of those three days over time, over the time axis. So you can actually see how long my task will take visually.

Tom: 09:50 Yeah, and then there’s actually typically multiple things that can appear on a Gantt chart. So you might see the entire project laid out like as one of the bars on the chart. You can clearly see when the project starts and finishes. Then you might also see things like milestones, which are significant events in the project such as releases, goals or meetings. And finally, obviously, you’ll see tasks.

Brian: 10:26 Cool. I think one of the biggest advantages of the Gantt chart is that you will see, like you mentioned, that entire project bar. You can see the entire project on the Gantt chart, even if it spans a long period of time, which is cool. So it really becomes that visual tool where you can start to see beyond just, “Hey, this is what we’re working on today or this week or this month. You can actually see that three-month project over a visual chart, which is awesome.”

Tom: 10:52 Yeah, and then I think one other really important thing to note here is … And one of the things that really separates a Gantt chart from just a timeline is Gantt charts traditionally have dependencies where you can indicate on the chart itself, like how different tasks are related to one another and not only just the tasks. You can also indicate how a task might be related to a milestone or a series of tasks might be related to a milestone.

Brian: 11:22 Yeah, and also, in addition to that, on the modern Gantt charts today, you can also show the current status of that task as well. So not only what it’s dependent on potentially, but also maybe percentage complete for example. So you can show on that chart, “Hey, it’s 50% complete.” So again, just showing you more information, one visual view. Also, sometimes, it also shows a vertical today line, showing you where today a current date is in the timeline or of the project, as well as sometimes they have a start or end line so you can easily see the start of the project, then the end of the project. So just again modern Gantt charts have those kind of extra bells and whistles.

Tom: 12:04 Yeah, and that’s really pretty cool when you want to at a glance see, well, are we ahead? Are we behind? Where are we at with this project? Right? Because if you can easily see the status of tasks on the Gantt chart, then by looking at this line, you can really gauge like, “Oh man, we’re slightly ahead, or we’re a little bit behind. Hopefully, only a little behind, where we should be in the project.”

Brian: 12:32 So now that you know what a Gantt chart is, if you haven’t heard of it, hopefully that gives you a sense of what it is. If you do a search online, you’ll be able to see lots of examples of Gantt charts. But let’s talk a little bit about the history, because I think the history is actually really interesting and also plays into why people think Gantt charts are dead or have an opinion one way or the other. But they were developed by Henry Gantt back in the early 1900s. We’re talking about 100-plus years since

Brian: 13:00 This has been in existence for projects, so it’s an old tool. Right? It’s been around. It’s tried and proven, and people still are using it today. It’s got a pretty deep history.

Tom: 13:11 Sure does. Yeah. They were first really widely used on large constructions projects. The example that they gave is the Hoover Dam, which started in 1931, and then also they give an example of an interstate highway network, which started in 1956. So, really large, complicated construction projects.

Brian: 13:33 Yeah, and they also noted that in addition to those, it’s also noted as being used as early by the United States as World War I, and that timeframe is 1914 to 1918. So that goes way back, even though I think the first commercial projects were Hoover Dam and stuff like that, but it goes way back even to World War I days, which is crazy.

Tom: 13:59 Cool. Yeah. Actually, if you take a look at the book, Henry Gantt’s book, which we’ll link to. It’s actually, I believe, a completely free book. It’s from the early 1900s, and they show old examples of Gantt charts, handwritten Gantt charts within the book. It’s pretty cool to look at.

Brian: 14:22 Yeah. It’s really cool for anybody who is a historian and actually wants to go look at this stuff, it’s really interesting, just even the way that they explain things and talk about work and the organization in general, but that hand-drawn example is really cool. Then also, even from that hand-drawn example, it involved into where, okay, every time they had a change or something in the project, which we all know happens all the time, they had to redraw the Gantt chart.

Brian: 14:49 They started to then get smart and say, “Well, let’s not draw it out exactly like this. Let’s use little pieces of paper to represent the tasks so we can move them around easily without having to redraw the whole chart. So, it started to become this moveable breathing thing, and that really lead its way into, as we get into software and all of those things, making it evolved into the Gantt charts that we use today.

Tom: 15:12 Yeah, and honestly, it’s really not too far different from the original way today online. Obviously, software makes a lot of things in creating these a lot quicker and easier, but the end product is really similar.

Brian: 15:30 Yeah. Now that you know what Gantt charts are, a little bit about the history. So, are Gantt charts dead or not? I think if you ask the Agile software world, they will probably say yes. Many Agile enthusiasts basically feel that Gantt charts are old school. Again, 100-year history or whatever, best used for manufacturing, and construction projects, and things like this. Things that have dependencies, generally, which in an Agile world, that’s exactly the opposite of how you work, right?

Brian: 16:04 It’s very iterative and all those things. So, I think that world itself is heavily favored on saying, “No. You should not use Gantt charts.” If you start searching around, poking around on the internet and doing some searches, you will find definitely probably a lot of Agile enthusiasts saying, “Nope. Gantt charts are dead. Don’t use them. They’re antiquated and old.”

Tom: 16:26 Which is really funny, I think, because they will then in the same breath tout something called a burn down chart, which if you really take a look at it, is basically a Gantt chart.

Brian: 16:39 Yeah. It’s got some differences obviously, and a lot of times the burn down chart, they’re using only, let’s say in Scrum for example, they’re looking at the sprint. Right?

Tom: 16:48 Sure.

Brian: 16:48 They’re looking at the burn down of the sprint, which is let’s say two weeks long. They’re really looking at the overall progress made on that sprint, basically just looking at general percentage. Hey. We’re 46% through, roughly, of all the work that needs to get done. So, they can quickly gage, are we going to finish this on time or not, or what’s going on? But burn down charts definitely lack the idea of an overall schedule, of course, because they’re only looking at the sprint.

Brian: 17:16 So if that’s a requirement, the burn down chart really won’t do its job, and it doesn’t really take time into account outside of that small time interval. Even if you were to expand out a burn down chart to cover 15 sprints, let’s say, it’s not going to give you any kind of time what actually has been completed. It’s more a general progression monitor saying that you’re this much complete, and there are also burn up charts too that show you the opposite.

Tom: 17:44 Sure, but yeah. I think that is, yeah. A burn down chart obviously serves a different purpose, but the purpose of a Gantt chart is actually more higher level than necessarily what the team is going to be using on a day-to-day basis. That’s probably why the hardcore Agile people probably would think it’s not super important because the day-to-day Agile people are probably not the ones that would really necessarily benefit from a Gantt chart.

Brian: 18:21 Yeah. I mean, Agile nature is very iterative. There’s not a ton of planning, even though there is some planning done, but you’re not planning a whole project up front as you would in, say, waterfall. They really don’t see the need because the benefit of that chart isn’t as great as a burn down chart, for example, because a burn down chart is really serving a purpose of tracking the sprints and showing progress. But in the same breath, I think it’s interesting too because Agile itself supports the idea of using the best tool for the job, right?

Brian: 18:55 Very few teams, from my experience at least, and I could be wrong, but I think you’ll probably find most teams aren’t running pure Agile. There’s always external scenarios that are changing the way that you have to actually run, and you’re running as Agile as you can. So, some scenarios will drive hey, I do need to estimate this project out because we’re putting a proposal together and estimating the whole project, even though you might want to run that project in a very Agile iterative way. I’ve been in those scenarios myself.

Tom: 19:29 Sure.

Brian: 19:30 If you look at that and you really need to do that schedule and that estimation, and be able to have to present that to a client potentially, a Gantt chart very well may be the best tool for the job in that scenario. If you’re an Agile team, you should be open to that if that’s your scenario because you should be using the best tool for the job, and a burn down chart, as an example, would not get that job done.

Tom: 19:52 Sure. Yeah, and I mean, they do have these concepts of epics or planning larger things within Agile, and having been on somewhat Agile teams before, even though your head is down in some sort of two-week sprint or week-long sprint, there still is something that’s going to be coming up after. There was something that happened before, and there’s an order to things. Mapping out that order, again, this is my opinion, absolutely could benefit from a Gantt chart if you need to show that to someone.

Brian: 20:32 Well also too, I think sometimes you’re not only just working with your team. Sometimes you have external teams. Even in Rindle, we have the product team that’s building features and working on our product every day, and then we have the marketing team who is an external team, technically. Internal to the company, but they’re not part of the product team per se. They’re not hearing and doing everything with us as we’re doing it. So, they might be running something differently that we run it, right?

Brian: 20:59 Maybe they’re not pure Agile like we’re running, or we choose to run more of a Kanban style. What happens when you need to communicate now with them what’s going on, and when it’s happening, and all these things? That’s another potential use case for the best tool for the job where it’s like, okay. Well, I need to have some kind of visual representation actually of what’s going on for external teams because they’re not living in our team right now, and though we’re very Agile and we’re doing stand ups every day, we have to be able to communicate what’s going on with some external resources. That again could justify a good use for a Gantt chart potentially.

Tom: 21:34 Yeah. I mean, honestly if you were to ask me eight months ago or so, I would probably say, “Yeah. The heck with Gantt charts. There’s better ways to do this,” or, “You don’t need a Gantt chart.” But honestly? After learning a lot more about them and also talking to customers who honestly get Gantt, it has been by far the most requested feature that we get for Rindle. I think we can both certainly say that they’re definitely not dead.

Brian: 22:10 Yeah. It’s kind of funny actually, because it definitely, the feature requests and volume kept this on our radar for a while. Me being a project manager by trade, I’ve used them in my history to great effect, and they’re very useful the way I used to use them, but I think it took me a while to explain that because you had never really used them before, but between my pushing, and also obviously talking to customers like you said, and hearing the countless requests, you start to realize, oh. Even though I didn’t use it, people are using this, and that actually makes sense, right?

Tom: 22:46 Yeah.

Brian: 22:47 I think it does. Sometimes you’ve got to look at the other perspective, but I think it was funny because we definitely had some interesting conversations about Gantt over the last year or so.

Tom: 22:55 Sure. Yeah, and honestly, the other thing is now as Rindle is growing and we are trying to plan out longer-term roadmap for the product, and for different efforts that are not software related, I can honestly say I see tons of uses for Gantt charts.

Brian: 23:16 Yeah. That’s going to make a great episode.

Tom: 23:18 Yeah.

Brian: 23:22 Cool. Yes. You said basically the short answer is they aren’t dead, and I think beyond Agile software development teams, there’s lots of other types of teams using Gantt charts today. Again, a big voice in the tech scene in general, you’ll hear a big voice about Gantt charts, but if you look at other areas like architecture, construction, manufacturing, even marketing, they’re alive and well, and being used by tons of teams out there. I think that in itself just proves that, yes, it may not be best for Agile teams in a lot of cases and they may choose not to use them even as Agile spreads beyond, but it’s still extremely viable for multiple reasons. It’s really, in the end, the best way to see a project visually.

Tom: 24:15 Cool. Yeah. Why do Gantt charts get a bad rap then if they clearly aren’t dead, and I think that stems a lot from waterfall, which maybe you can just give a quick overview of what waterfall is.

Brian: 24:32 Yeah. Waterfall is basically just the more step-by-step progression. It falls definitely in line with the dependencies that we’re talking about. You have usually phases of a project. For example if we’re doing a software development project, there might be a discovery phase, and then a design phase, and then a development phase, and then a testing phase. All of those things progress over time. If you mapped that out on a Gantt chart, for example, it would look kind of like a waterfall streaming down.

Brian: 25:00 Again, I think waterfall is the way that software and websites used to be developed. When tech started and we figured out, oh. Cool. We can have this thing called the internet and the web, and we can build stuff and have websites, the only thing that existed was waterfall stemming from the industrial ages and all these other industries. That’s just the way projects were done, and it worked fine in the beginning. Then as we got smart in tech, and we got more collaborative, and we started building more complicated software, Agile was born, basically.

Brian: 25:36 Hey, there’s a better way to do it in this world, and we don’t have to follow a step-by-step because sometimes we don’t know exactly what we’re building, like a house. When we build a house, we’re going to spec it out. We’re going to measure everything. We’re going to have to build the foundation first. There’s no way around that. With software, that’s not always the case. So, Agile definitely is potentially better in a lot of ways than waterfall. I think that’s

Brian: 26:00 … that’s where the bad rap comes from, because again, the tech industry is kinda saying, “Ah, we’ve moved onto agile. This scan chart used for waterfall stuff, so not for us.” Looking at waterfalls being antiquated, again, as far as the methodology is concerned.

Brian: 26:16 So, I think that’s kind of where the bad rap comes from.

Tom: 26:20 Yeah, and honestly, I think it’s not really justified. Because I think, actually, waterfall still has a place in even software development. And honestly, I don’t think I probably would have said that if, a couple years ago, when I worked within agencies, or even within other startups. But if you are really doing some sort of very structured project, or a series of structured projects that you have a clear understanding of timeline and exactly what needs to be done, waterfall actually is probably gonna be the best for it, right? Agile, there’s certain types of projects that are for Agile, and those are the projects that you need to be creative on, and you need to be flexible and change really easily.

Tom: 27:12 And then, there are certain types of projects which really are best suited for waterfall. And honestly, you would probably be doing an injustice if you didn’t fully really understand both, and went to best use one over the other.

Brian: 27:29 Yeah, I think a great measuring tool for that is, if you know what you’re building. Let’s say, in the software world, you’re building a piece of software like you’re saying, and you actually understand what needs to be built and why, there’s a greatly strong understanding of what we’re doing, waterfall very well could be a fit, like you’re saying. Also, even in any kind of planning, or any kind of environment where you know, or anticipating something to happen, in the future, and you understand what those things are, and you need to see that, that’s always a telltale sign.

Brian: 28:00 If you’re really, like Agile world, again, if you’re really working in an Agile fashion, you’re concentrating on one sprint at a time, and then you plan the next one when you’re done with the sprint you’re working on. Then, you’re not really looking to the future at all, beyond two weeks, right? Or whatever your sprint is.

Tom: 28:12 Sure.

Brian: 28:12 So yeah, I think that’s a good point. That definitely is, you know, it’s a tool. So it’s like a tool in your toolbox. You can use it-

Tom: 28:21 And also, I think that you, you know, if you’re running a project, you don’t have to just use one or the other. You can be flexible, right? So there could be certain parts of a project which you do know, exactly. So say you’re about to deploy an app to the app store, right? Like an iPhone app. It’s really clear what needs to happen. You need to generate assets, you need to do this, you need to do that, and you have a good understanding of how long each of those things take, and what needs to be done.

Tom: 28:57 Even if you’re running Agile the entire time you’re developing the app, you could actually run the deploy, or the actual final sprint more waterfall. I don’t see any issue with jumping back and forth, if there’s a need.

Brian: 29:16 Well, again, best tool for the job. So I guess you would be right in that sense.

Tom: 29:21 There you go.

Brian: 29:23 Yeah, so, here’s how Gantt charts are useful. So whether we’re talking about waterfall, Agile, or whatever, you might be using, or maybe you’re using nothing. No methodology, right? I think Gantt charts are hands down, one of the best ways to schedule a project, and see the project from a higher level. So if you just take that in itself, right there, if you’re dealing with scheduling issues, if you’re dealing with sharing the project at a high level, with stakeholders and things like that, a Gantt chart is a great option. And I’ve used it like this, myself, like I said, in the past, where I’m trying to communicate complicated things to stakeholders, and it just really wraps everything up into a very visual way that I can explain, hey, here’s what we’re planning to do.

Brian: 30:07 But as a first kind of value point of that is, you can see your entire project over time in a single, scrollable view. So again, even when you think about a calendar, a calendar changes views, potentially, from month to month, if you’re looking and be able to actually see what’s going on in a calendar. The Gantt chart allows you to kind of scroll over a whole project, even zoom in with software today, and be able to see that whole project when you’re looking at a high level view, and see the entire project.

Tom: 30:34 As you kind of mentioned there, you can definitely create dependencies that clearly show how tasks relate to each other, and which ones are dependent on each other. There’s actually, we won’t go into this in great detail, but there’s actually different types of dependencies, and different use cases for those different types of dependencies. And yeah, when you actually start creating those dependencies, and when you start creating those higher level tasks that compose the project, that’s really where, then, the power of modern technology really comes into play, where then, if something does get pushed out, or something is gonna take longer, the Gantt chart can automatically adjust, right?

Tom: 31:19 So, back in the day, as you mentioned, they literally had to redraw this entire Gantt chart. And then they finally started using cardboard or whatever else to represent the tasks, so they could easily extend them. But with modern technology, it’s seamless, right? You can extend it out, and it pushes everything else out. So yeah, it’s pretty awesome how, if you set it up properly, and again, it’s time consuming, sometimes, to set it up properly. But if you have it set up properly, it can really be a great tool to visually show a project.

Brian: 31:57 Yeah, I think that is one of the biggest use cases for me, in the past. And we probably are gonna end up doing another episode about Gantts, and how to use them, and how we use them, and all that stuff. But you know, I think, for me, I always stayed away from dates, because my projects changed so often, that to try to manage dates and update due dates, and you know, at the time, we were doing more of a waterfall planning, where we were looking at a whole project, right? And we’re mapping out dates for like a three month project. That’s a nightmare.

Brian: 32:31 And then, you know, adapting the Gantt tool really solved that problem for me. Because it let me use dates so everybody could understand what’s going on, and easily adjust them like you’re saying, without having the fear of, boy, I just hope this project doesn’t change, ’cause it’s gonna take me two hours to adjust everything. And now, you can pretty much, with technology today, you know, like you said, drag all the dependencies kind of fall into play, and adjust the dates for you, and it’s a huge time saver, and just, it’s a game changer as far as scheduling.

Brian: 33:04 Awesome, so let’s talk about some tips for taking action. So if you have any element of scheduling in your projects that you have to deal with, whether it’s internal, external, various stakeholders, if you’re not using Gantt charts today, definitely give them a try. Like I said, it’s a game changer, as far as updating and planning and communicating a project timeline, so definitely give it a shot.

Tom: 33:28 Yeah, and I think, also, be weary of Gantt chart software that actually make your life harder. So software that doesn’t allow you to move stuff out, that are dependent tasks, easily. It’s gonna make your life harder.

Brian: 33:48 Yeah, and I think, just from a level of execution, too, I mean, you can track project of work in a Gantt chart, but a lot of times, especially like Rindle customers, they like to move things through visual workloads, as we do, here at Rindle, where you have a kind of step by step, left to right workflow. So making sure that, if you are having those type of work flows, it’s easy to execute the task, as well as plan them. And I think that’s a key, because you don’t want to have to do like planning in your Gantt chart, and then when you’re ready to execute on a project, now you have a whole bunch more work to do with data entry and importing or exporting, whatever you gotta do to make all that work for your team. It should be seamless.

Brian: 34:28 And the data entry is a big part, because I used to have to do that. Even with an integration at the time, I was using a separate PM tool, and a separate Gantt tool, and trying to make those integrate, and it was a nightmare. Because things, again, things just changed so often, the integration didn’t work 100%, and it was just messy.

Tom: 34:45 Sure, yeah. And actually, I think one other tip is just, be really mindful when looking at the software. Because a lot of software actually fear Gantt chart, the word Gantt so much, that they hide the fact that they actually do have a Gantt chart, or Gantt type capabilities. They just call it something different. Because they almost know how bad of a rap a Gantt chart has, and they know it’s kind of a turn off for some project managers.

Tom: 35:18 So, yeah, I would say be a little mindful of that.

Brian: 35:21 Yeah, and also understand what they mean by whatever they call it. So there’s definitely a trend of timeline being used now. And timeline is not a new word or anything, but instead of using, like you’re saying, the word Gantt, they’re using the word timeline, and timeline is something new or better. But be weary that, you know, those things might not be doing exactly what a Gantt chart will do. They’re actually a timeline. Which is great and useful, but it may not have dependencies, and other things that you might expect from a Gantt chart, especially if you’re a savvy Gantt user.

Brian: 35:51 So definitely, yeah, check out what they’re actually offering, and make sure that it is what you’re signing up for.

Brian: 35:58 Well, I think that about wraps us up for the day. If you have a question for us, you can call it into our voicemail number at 860-577-2293. Or you can email it to us at workflow@rindle.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from Thunder Rock by Magik Studio, used under creative commons. Subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for Workflow, and visit rindle.com/workflow-podcast for a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.