What is wrong with Gantt chart?

Answer, nothing wrong. It is a great tool. The reason it is not popular in software development is that it does not usually work. Gantt chart is a project management tool for scheduling activities (start and end date), assign resources, track progress. It’s arguably the main tool which I have seen used in project management, but not in software development.

Why?

In the CMM model there was the concept of Project Software Manager (PSM) and Project Manager (PM) for the overall project. I tend to believe that Gantt chart can be excellent tool for the PM but not for the PSM.

The reasons of its non popularity in the agile world are:

  1. It doesn’t encourage team to sign-off for tasks intead of being assigned to them.
  2. A corollary of 1., it encourage command-and-control mentality where there is elite who assigns tasks to workers.
  3. It’s not visual for all team members.
  4. Software development is driven by requirements (features), the tasks are decided by the team. There is no clear way to manifest this understanding using Gantt chart.
  5. For me the biggest drawback it calls people resource:)
  6. For me it is not easy to represent iterations and delivery cadence.
  7. It doesn’t visualize the flow of end-to-end value stream.
  8. It encourages status reporting instead of promoting collaboration.
  9. It amplifies task estimation to have yard stick for tracking. Instead tracking should be related to completing feature.
  10. It requires having a project manager, instead of being owned by the team.

I acknowledge that there are Agile implementation of Gantt chart (apart from the vendor).  However, though Gantt chart has been widely used it has less success rate in Agile software development.

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