Gantt Charts and Agile


I don't have much use for Gantt charts; if you've determined the tasks in enough detail and far enough out to really see the critical path, you'll be wrong in 24-48 hours. If you don't put in that much detail, it's a pretty picture, but not enough information to manage the project. (Of course, Gantt charts are used by people other than the project manager and the project team–but mostly for nefarious purposes 🙂

Tate Stuntz in The demise of the Gantt Chart in Agile Software Projects has a great article about why Gantts are not useful in Agile projects.

Aside: I'm happy to report there are no Gantt charts in Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management. That's because there are other charts that provide much more detail, with more accuracy.

Labels: Manage It, project management

3 Replies to “Gantt Charts and Agile”

  1. In my experience, Gantt charts are an excellent tool to identify the critical path and dependencies, track progress, and communicate these things to various stakeholders. I have used them extensively and with consistently good results.
    They are a poor tool to manage day-to-day work. As with any tool, misuse is a bad thing.

    1. JP, what do they need a high-level plan for? Is it for internal use or external use?

      The reason I’m asking is you might use different tools for different things. In agile, we don’t have critical path management, CPM. If you have interdependencies on your projects, as in How Long Are Your Iterations, Part 2, you might decide to create feature teams instead of component teams. Feature teams deliver features. Component teams deliver pieces that someone then needs to integrate.

      If you have not read my work about the agile roadmap, start with We Need Planning; Do We Need Estimation?. You might find the answer there for internal use.

      If you have a program, you might need a roadmap for external use. I have not used Gantts for that. Some of my beta readers for the program management book have.

      The real question is this: Why do they want one? What is the problem they are trying to solve? Let me know and I’ll try to provide a better answer.

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