Breaking down the Gantt

I’m involved in a project at the moment in a project management role. The project coordinates about 12 people towards the creation of a piece of interactive art.

Up until recently, we have managed the team (who are mostly contracted designers and programmers) via regular meetings, but in the last couple of months it’s been a bit nerve-wracking to stay on top of everything that’s going on just using face-to-face reports.

Enter The Gantt

The other producer has championed the development of a big Gantt chart schedule which lists all the known tasks, dependencies, rough schedules, resource allocations… the whole nine yards.

This makes us feel comfortable, but I have enough experience with XP to spot illusory comfort when I see it. The whole thing has flaws – in data capture, in accuracy, in usability – enough to make me want to replace it with something better as fast as possible.

So, today, I’m turning the Gantt schedule into a stack of index cards, a la Extreme Programming’s planning game and I’m going to take these along to the next meeting and see if I can bend the process a little and do a little action research.

I’m writing a little article on issues with Gantt charts for this project and how cards might solve them while maintaining the benefits. I’ll link it somewhere here when it’s done.

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