Screenshot of TeamGantt Gantt chart software showing vertical colourful bars on a timeline sheet with lists on the left-hand side

Gantt charts: a good choice for projects?

I’m using a Gantt chart from TeamGantt for a project.

From what I understand, Gantt charts used to be (still are?) the bible for project managers.

I took the first level of Beth Livingston’s excellent The WP Project Manager’s Academy free course and it helped me understand the basics of WordPress project management. I first heard about Gantt charts and this video (from 11 years ago!) from Beth.

Why a Gantt chart?

As a web developer and website builder, I use tools, including Gantt charts, to manage WordPress projects because without them, projects take far longer.

Today when you can use so many different tools to manage projects, Gantt charts are perhaps unfashionable.

But when you’re working on a project that takes a while, they make it easier to track tasks completed, milestones reached and to learn from the hiccups that always seem to happen in spite of the best of plans.

The chart gives you visual cues with bars that tell you where you are in terms of deadlines and lets you see at a glance what you’ve accomplished, what’s going wrong or where you are falling behind.

I usually use a project manager tool called Asana to list out what needs to be done. I set up columns for tasks to be placed under To Do, In Progress, Completed. What I found was starting to happen was as the project continued, it was hard to get an idea of where we were in terms of the big picture.

Sure I could move tasks to the Completed column, but as months went by there was a need to see the entire project on a calendar so you can literally see what’s going on.

I’m using the Asana free plan and I don’t have access to its Gantt chart option so using Zapier to link up TeamGantt and Asana helped me integrate the two.

Do Gantt charts work?

They can if you actually follow them and respect the deadlines you’ve set to be sure your project stays on track.

Gantt charts are useful if you work in a team or if you’re like me and tend to swim in the little details.

There is something rewarding about checking off a box and seeing your chart sections fill up in green or blue or whatever colour you’ve chosen to represent a task in question.

TeamGantt sends you reminders of when tasks are due and lets you know when they’re overdue and when you haven’t logged in for a while. You can also see lists or see your project deadlines on a calendar.

I use the free plan but their paid plan offers even more. It even integrates with Trello, another tool people use for keeping on top of projects.

When Gantt charts may not work

My recent experience

I’ve been sick and so has my client.

So the project became a bit derailed.

Requests to change aspects of the theme’s design led to delays.

Translations added to the site’s old design had to be redone au complet.

The web host we’ve chosen links the site to the domain so we’re not moving there till the staging site is finished.

We’re still working on some content.

I underestimated how much time I would need for sourcing images and graphics, editing them, redoing page layouts.

I am juggling work for two other clients.

I’m having a nightmarish time with a form plugin and at this point it’s late to switch plugins.

I could code a solution but I am feeling exhausted.

Updating the Gantt chart feels like a chore at times.

Takeaways

The Gantt chart, while useful, is serving as a reminder that projects don’t always work out the way you expect.

I am resetting the deadlines and adjusting the timeline.

My recommendation for using Gantt charts is use them if they suit you. I find they really help.

Don’t get demoralized when you’re behind in your Gantt chart goals. When things don’t go as planned, don’t be too hard on yourself. Break tasks down into small parts. Enjoy the satisfaction of checking off those boxes when you get to them and take note for next time.

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