Monday, July 21, 2008

To Gantt or not to Gantt

In developing a project management package - there comes a time to decide if you're going to include a gantt's tempting to put it in so as to get, potentially, more people to download and use the tool (aka ego boosting)...reviewing the Ed Tufte discussion on gantt charts kept me honest - NO! no gantt charts. The tool (which I think at best should help communicate within the team and not replace any real project management responsibilities, remove any level of communication, etc.) will include a list of deliverables and timeline to each step in providing that deliverable...but no gantt chart. Tools and processes enhances a solid mature team - that's it. Tools/process DO NOT:
  • make up for poor management
  • improve people's abilities (other people do that most effectively through one-on-one training/mentoring)
  • remove the need for a solid manager
  • reduce major risks
  • ensure timelines, quality, etc.
  • make people communicate better
Tools enhance - that's it! Gantt charts, project management triangles, excess reports, heavy documentation, restricting processes, overcomplicated tools are the signs of poorly implemented leadership/management ideas.

William Shakespeare - To be, or not to be
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end

(image from alternative film guide)

1 comment:

  1. Interesting - i agree with everything you say with respect to what technology cannot replace.

    Having said that, making a tool heavy with the aim of enhancing utility is fine. for example - keeping Project Management tools in mind -- when i looked at Basecamp, it did not have advanced reporting tools or charts which reduced my manual effort. The tool i ultimately chose had all of that (i chose Deskaway - - so my time is saved. My perspective about giving my client who i am pursuing the project for - a high end professional experience remains. The DA charts and analytics just always manage to add that extra. Even when i give clients their own logins, they always say that they like to view the charts as opposed to the hard text. So i guess if any feature is more of an enabler and cannot easily be misused as an excuse for human input - its fine!