Gantt Charts

Recorded at Lean Agile Manchester on 21st June 2017
Gantt Charts in Agile?


Hello everyone. I’m gonna talk about Gantt charts. Interesting reaction, that. Yeah. Yeah. right. Does anybody want a picture of Brian’s board before I wipe it off?

Okay. Tell you what? I’ll stick it over here instead? Am I actually gonna defend Gantts charts? Don’t go. Stay, everyone, stay. It’s not as bad as it seems. All right. It’s an interesting reaction that you see when people start talking about these things here. These old school, these awful, ‘We’re not a child, now. We don’t do Gantts charts. We don’t even do, do we?’

I guess my premise is, a Gantt chart is okay. It’s fine. Let me tell you what’s not fine. The reason I’m saying that it’s fine is, it’s absolutely sensible. If you … Not everything is software. There are some things in life, which are a little bit more predictable. Which, you may want to then map out a flow like this. When Henry, Gantts was it?, I think it was the 1910’s. I read Wikipedia before, actually. When Henry Gantt came up with this, it was in the 1910’s. They didn’t have Microsoft projects or anything like that, yeah? Actually, a Gantt chart is … It does what it does. It’s quite simple. Maybe we want to just rename it to ‘Roadmap’. Ever seen a roadmap? It’s laid out not too dissimilar. It’s just a series of milestones or events in a timeline with some order of scale attached with it. That’s harmless. Nothing wrong with that.

The problem comes is when the tech heads come along and say, we could map something like this to your Gantt chart. We could start to lay out our resources and we could allocate them to these things and we can say, ‘Are they over allocate, are the under allocated?’ In other words, things like Microsoft projects gives Gantts charts a really bad name. If you in a situation where you in a … Let’s call it a ‘highly waterfall’ environment, and you being asked to produced a Gantt charts, don’t say, ‘We don’t do that in a job?’ Because, if they want a Gantt chart, just give them a Gantt chart. Seriously. It’s not a big deal.

If they say, ‘Can you produce in Microsoft Projects and level your plan,’ has anyone ever levelled their planning life? Yeah. What a bloody ridiculous concept that was. If you’ve ever done that, just say ‘no.’ Feel like thinking of Grange Hill now. What’s his name? … Zack, was it? Or …

Zammo. ‘Just say no.’ Also, we then link it. We try and get a bit more clever into things like Project Server, ’cause we want to go enterprise class. We gonna now roll it all up into these nice big dashboards. As sort of was saying, ‘This down here is evil. This is horrible. This should be gone there.’ If you see your organisations doing that, just question them. ‘What do you really get from that?’ Again, don’t … The Gantt chart. It’s a tool in the toolkit. Might not be the best tool in the toolkit, but it’s still just a tool. Let’s not give Gantt charts a hard time, but let’s give Microsoft Projects really hard time.

Separate the two and think of other ways in which you can … Sometimes I see people, when they won’t present something as simple as a Gantt chart, because it’s not agile, sleek, or how is it some really other awkward way to present some information. When actually, just a simple, ‘Do it PowerPoint. Do it Excel,’ whatever. It’s simple common sense. Let it always … Common sense prevail. Thank you. That was my talk.

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