All progress starts by telling the truth. If you are a project manager and you want to become more efficient, you have to face it - Gantt charts are outdated. They just don't bring the same value as the contemporary methods for workflow and project management.
Don't get me wrong. They played their positive role, but it's been more than a century since they were born. Plus, their origins come from the construction and manufacturing industries. This is actually not a big problem.
The big problem is that the Gantt chart didn't evolve much as a practice. Probably it is still good for the industries where it comes from, which is considerable. However, when we talk about knowledge work not only the Gantt chart, but also the Waterfall is like an old-fashioned rusty car.
After all, we live in a fast-moving world and project management tools should be adaptive and flexible.
Meet the next generation - Kanban timelines.
Timelines Are Better When Used on a Project Portfolio Level
First of all, let's consider this: timelines (of any kind) are much more useful if you apply them on a project portfolio management level. This is something that we truly believe in.
Why is that? When used on a global level, timelines give you a broad overview of the current state of each project. You and your team can see planned and actual start/end dates, visualize dependencies between different projects/initiatives, and so on.
If you want to manage individual tasks, there is a more convenient way: the Kanban board. This is why the timeline feature in Kanbanize is only on an initiative's level.
Now let's get deeper.
Planning, Tracking, and Executing at the Same Place
There is one thing that is a real pain in the daily work-life of a project manager: switching between different systems to check plans, get status updates and sync between various projects.
Imagine this: you have a Gantt chart where you check your project plans. Then, you switch to your Kanban board to observe work in progress. Then, you have to go back to the first one and visualize the project progress, because you already forgot what was its state.
Now imagine that you have several project to work on. Juggling between various systems may take you a whole day. Can you feel the pain?
Well, here is the remedy. With Kanban timelines, you can plan, breakdown, execute and track projects at the same place.
You don't have to switch between many different systems or create complex channels for communication. Everything is in one central informational hub. Basically, using Kanban for project management can save the work day for you.
Visualize Dependencies between Different Projects and Get Real-time Status
If unpredictable events occur (which happens all the time), you need to take actions that require plan changes. If you use Excel sheets, Gantt charts, Waterfall and so on, you need to re-arrange the whole plan, in most cases manually. This can take ages.
With Kanban timeline, it is much easier. First of all, if your team is late with completing a project within the planned end date, the system will highlight that initiative directly on the timeline.
Second, you can just put projects that are related one after another, as shown in the picture below. This way if the first project is late, then the successor will automatically move to the right. Plus, you cannot start a project before its predecessor is finished because the system won't allow it.
The First-Ever Timeline with WIP Limits to Foster Collaboration
Not only do Gantt charts not have WIP limit functionalities, but the Kanbanize timeline is the first timeline in the world that supports work-in-progress limits.
What does that mean?
It means that you can set a WIP limit on your timeline that restricts the number of projects that can be in progress simultaneously.
You might ask how is this good. The application of WIP limits has proven its positive impact on team collaboration and productivity. The whole concept is based on the idea that your team has to focus on finishing the current work and avoid context-switching. This prevents the accumulation of unfinished work and waiting time. All these things help you deliver value to customers more frequently. Which inevitably leads to active collaboration.
So instead of piling projects, your team focuses on finishing work and turns up into a highly efficient workforce.
At the End of the Day...
In any case it is a good idea to break down projects into individual work items. It is also fine to group similar tasks, attach as many details as possible to each task, assign them to people, set deadlines, and make schedules. However, if something goes wrong, you might need to rework the whole plan, which is a major time-waster.
It is like a house of cards.
One wrong move and it is all gone. On the contrary, the timelines give you the flexibility to change plans on the go, focus on finishing projects and collaborate better. This makes it one of the best Agile project management tools for planning.
With this feature in place, your team or even the whole organization will be always up to date with the current state of every project.
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