Softwareproject Management

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Should I use Gantt charts in Software Development? 5 Reasons Why You Still Should.

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During the process of developing new software or software functions, it can be a challenge to synchronize the efforts of all of the employees who are working hard to design, build, test, and incorporate feedback for a new product or product feature. By embracing the use of Gantt Charts, a method that loops all members of a team into a clearly defined task and output timeline, software developers can oversee the entire project more effectively, as well as predict and assess foreseen risks and adjust tasks based on real-time feedback. Besides, it is a good communication tool between technology and business people.


1 - Eliminating Confusion: Centralized and Visualized - for Business and Tech People, As Well

Gantt charts are incredibly helpful for team members as they are highly visual in nature, thus transforming the tasks, activities of a project into one simple, streamlined, well-thought-over visual aid. Though workers who identify as “visual learners” will especially benefit from this method, all team members will be able to agree that the clarity produced by a Gantt Chart eliminates many of the complications that arise from having to-do just simply listed or shown in an Excel spreadsheet or shared Google Docs file.

Why? because Gantt charts play a critical role in showcasing how various tasks are interrelated. Looking through a chart, it becomes instantly clear to the reader that other team members are not depending on work completion in a timely and effective manner in order to proceed to next steps in the team’s overall process. When individuals working on a project can directly see how their timing and output plays into the work of others, they are able to rethink their own process in terms of optimization.


2 - Defining What to do and What "Done" Means: Completion

How often have your team members gotten lost within project tasks simply because they were unsure what constituted “completion” within their work? Often, vague directions or overwhelmingly large tasks can derail team members who might not effectively optimize their time towards the most important deliverables in a project, simply because of a miscommunication of expectations or what end results need to be achieved through an overarching process. Developing a more precise understanding of what deliverables are, and how they play into a project, can push a team to again and again rethink their time and how it works towards a specific set of tangible outputs. Knowing which specific steps, over a certain period of time, must be completed in order to achieve a common goal will help the team move forward towards project completion more efficiently.


3 - Flexibility: Re-scheduling / Planning and Plan Versions

Using a Gantt chart does not mean that the project plan has been set in stone. Just the contrary.

Throughout various checkpoints in a greater process, it is especially important for workers to be able to identify any issues that have come up within task completion, and to be able to predict any problems that will arise as the project continues. Gantt Charts make it easy to implement course-correction methods. As timelines and task assignments are rearranged within a project management software that holds the Gantt chart at hand, all other related tasks are automatically adjusted (can be re-scheduled), allowing team members to see how to best deal with change while mid-project.

Besides, there can be multiple plan versions used, so it will be much easier, later, to see, when and what changed during the course of the entire project.


4 - Allowing Team Members Participate in Other Tasks

Timeliness is not the only advantage that comes out of using Gantt charts: keeping everyone in the loop about project specifics from the beginning opens up a whole new conversation. Team members to utilize their expertise to provide project design feedback and predict any problems or challenges that may arise not only with their assigned tasks, but elsewhere within the projects. As software developers often come into a project with a diverse set of experiences from previous projects and development processes, they are an important resource beyond their ability to complete assigned tasks. It is important for project managers to loop all team members into a project so that workers can help to identify areas of course-correction or a new process design.


5 - See How Busy Resources Are - And Will Be

Besides timeliness and allowing everyone to see the big picture and to possibly participate in other tasks there is no other tool where it would be so simple to see how busy people are - and will be.

If you give it a try with a simple Excel spreadsheet or Google docs or any other, non-Gantt-based planning application, after a while just simply answering the question "who's got some time left?" can become a nightmare.

With Gantt charts the resource load diagram summarizes work for any resource for any day (or other time period you plan for). This seemingly humble tool can provide very fundamental help in properly allocating resources.

Good luck and happy "Gantting"!