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Gantt chart software for project management

Tracking complex projects with large teams and multiple tasks can be challenging for any project manager. Gantt chart software, a project management tool, helps simplify the job by providing a visual approach using horizontal graph bars representing each task and milestone in your project.

Why teams use Gantt chart software

Gantt charts serve as a visual reference point for all work down to the task level and benefit the entire team. The tasks include start and end dates, resource assignments, dependencies, progress, and milestones.

JSW timeline

When integrated with product development tools, such as Jira Software, task-level changes get reflected immediately, providing the current view of the entire project.

Task tracking

Scheduling tasks helps stakeholders, project resources, and customers know what to expect and when, and Gantt chart software defines clear start and end dates for each task. Product development projects often include recurring tasks, and in the Jira Software scheduler, these recurring tasks are automatically created based on templates and preferences.

Dependency mapping

Task dependencies occur when one task cannot begin until another is complete. Assigning dependencies becomes easy with tools for mapping and visualization, such as Gantt chart software that simplifies task sequencing, prevents downtime, and optimizes team resources.

Project tracking

Gantt charts provide a current view of a project’s status, open and completed tasks, dependencies, and bottlenecks. As teams log progress against tasks, Gantt chart software tracks project progress to completion in real time.

Date shifting

Adding new tasks to an existing project can result in a cascade of shifting dates when those tasks have dependencies. Gantt chart software automatically adjusts dates for all dependent work when tasks are added or changed.

Resource allocation

Efficient project management optimizes resource allocation by focusing on skills, availability, and constraints. Gantt chart software visually represents all resources across the project timeline, showing when they are needed and how long they will be working on each task.

Roadmap views

Project managers rely on visual roadmaps to clearly communicate the vision, priorities, and progress of the project with everyone. Advanced and basic roadmap views in Gantt chart software help tailor the information by providing the right level of detail for the audience.

Limitations of Gantt charts

Gantt charts are beneficial in visually representing projects in real time. However, teams accustomed to small, fast projects, such as Agile teams, may find them to be too rigid. Gantt charts do not promote collaboration, a key element of Agile software development. As projects grow, Gantt charts can quickly become extremely complex and unable to rapidly adapt to change.

Alternatives to Gantt chart software

Several alternatives to Gantt charts promote greater flexibility, collaboration, and customer-centricity. Project managers looking for incremental progress and continuous improvement may prefer tools designed for Kanban, Scrum, and Agile methodologies.

Backlog screenshot

Jira Software’s backlog view is a dedicated space for defining and prioritizing work, allowing teams to see the work in a single location. Agile teams often use backlogs instead of Gantt charts to plan and prioritize sprints because there are generally fewer tasks in each sprint. Kanban teams also address fewer tasks per project, and the Kanplan tracks future tasks and keeps the to-do list clean and ready.

Backlog screenshot

Jira Work Management allows teams to manage tasks across multiple schedules and timelines to consistently meet their deadlines. The calendar view offers a familiar way for team members to quickly see what they should be working on and when.

Backlog screenshot

Teams can capture, prioritize, and align ideas to the product roadmap with Jira Product Discovery. For Agile teams, selecting ideas and gathering insights is a collaborative exercise that results in visual roadmaps. This allows stakeholders to see what products are being built, when, and why.

Advanced Roadmaps

Atlassian’s Advanced Roadmaps combine issues from multiple projects to create a master plan encompassing multiple teams. The visual hierarchy provides a view of projects across the company, including upcoming priorities, dependencies, and areas at risk. This simplifies data sharing between team members and improves resource optimization and release date scheduling.

Gantt chart software: Frequently asked questions

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Project managers find that Gantt charts provide flexibility and support incremental progress and continuous improvement. And they can be created with various ubiquitous office tools, such as Microsoft Excel.

For customer-centric teams that work collaboratively, including Agile, Kanban, and distributed teams, Jira Software tools, such as Product Discovery, Advanced Roadmaps, and Work Management, can provide more flexibility in collaboratively defining, refining, and reprioritizing tasks. 

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Gantt charts can help Agile teams map sprints and create product development roadmaps. However, sprints include fewer tasks in faster iterations, which may not require the level of effort it takes to create a Gantt chart. Tools such as Jira Software assist teams with breaking tasks into smaller units, helping teams remain focused.

DevOps teams, where members work across the entire application lifecycle, also find Jira Software useful for bug tracking and product updates because it automates and accelerates multiple processes.

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Choosing the best software for Gantt charts depends on the needs of your company. Many project management software platforms include Gantt charts, but advanced tools that support specific methodologies, such as Agile and Kanban, can improve overall success. Project management companies focused on best practices also offer free reviews and insights into the best tools based on a methodology for specific areas of product development.

For many modern product development teams, collaboration, speed, and user-centric decisions are key drivers when defining projects. Agile, Scrum, and Kanban teams often use alternatives to Gantt charts, such as Jira Software, Jira Work Management, and Jira Product Discovery, because these are tailored to the needs of these methodologies.