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How we use the Gantt chart

Does My Mobile Development Project Need a Gantt Chart to Succeed?

To answer this question simply, no. There’s really no individual tool, concept, or option that is so vital to a development project that there’s no possibility of success without it.

That having been said, I have yet to come across a better method of communicating the full scope of a project’s timeline in terms of resource allocation (developer’s time) that is both flexible and predictive enough to adjust to changing circumstances, than the Gantt chart.

For that reason, we include creating and maintaining a Gantt chart as part of our overall project management offering and we insist on using it for any project more complicated than a 4-page brochure-style website.

What the Gantt chart does

Here is textbook definition of the Gantt chart’s basic function, as described on Gantt.com:

A Gantt chart, commonly used in project management, is one of the most useful and popular ways of showing activities (events or tasks) displayed against time. On the left of the chart is a list of the activities and along the top is a suitable time scale. Each activity is represented by a bar; the position and length of the bar reflects the start duration, end and date of the activity. This allows you to see at a glance:

  • What the various activities are
  • When each activity ends and begins
  • How long each activity is scheduled to last
  • Where activities overlap with other activities, and by how much
  • The start and end date of the whole project

To summarize, a Gantt chart shows you what has to be done (the activities) and when (the schedule).

In reference specifically to software development – whether for mobile, web, or any other custom application – the Gantt chart can be used to break down individual tasks required to successfully complete the project and/or human resources needed for scheduling purposes.

The format’s flexibility and simplicity make it particularly effective for visualizing complex projects in an easily digestible way. The more complex a project is, the more valuable the Gantt chart becomes.

How we use the Gantt chart

Our development studio focuses primarily on enterprise-level custom software development. The projects we work on most tend to be involved and fairly complex, often requiring a project timeline of six months or more. These clients like to have a thorough understanding of our strategy before development commences and they want to be kept in the loop throughout the project.

We use agile development methods whenever possible, so we tend to internally organize our time and task priorities into 2-week sprints and then execute in such a way that we can freely collaborate and adjust priorities on the fly to accomplish the most for our clients.

We’ve found that creating a Gantt chart during the initial analysis phase of the project serves both us and our clients well as a means of visualizing the full scope of work. As the analysis period comes to an end and development begins, the original chart can then be easily adapted to our internal sprint schedule without recreating the wheel.

The end result is both a strategic means of communicating project scope and timeline details, and a practical, living document that can be readily updated and shared to keep our development team and the client fully apprised of progress as it happens.

Our clients have expressed how much they appreciate this visual tool for keeping them involved as the project progresses, and our team would be lost without access to the project’s Gantt chart throughout each sprint.

So, again, to answer the initial question – does your mobile development project need a Gantt chart to succeed?

No, but there’s really no good reason not to use it. It works.

A Gantt chart, commonly used in project management, is one of the most useful and popular ways of showing activities (events or tasks) displayed against time. On the left of the chart is a list of the activities and along the top is a suitable time scale. Our development studio focuses primarily on enterprise-level custom software development. The projects we work on most tend to be fairly complex and involved, often requiring a project timeline of six months or more. These clients like to have a thorough understanding of our strategy before development commences and they want to be kept in the loop throughout the project.