Within Jira – both Jira Core and Jira Software, and Jira Datacenter – there is no true Gantt chart view. What added value does Gantt view bring to Jira? What subtle difference is there between “Jira Gantt view” and “Jira Gantt chart”? Whereas so many brilliant Gantt plugins are available on Atlassian Marketplace, are some better than others and how to tell the best?
Why is Gantt chart view so crucial?
A simple analogy: A digital watch tells you the time at a point in time. It is correct and informative. A traditional chronograph watch also tells the time at that point but you are able to see time moving forward into the future, a visualisation of minutes and hours to come.
A simple Jira report or JQL filter provides data at a point, but in one dimension. When we observe the same issues on a Jira Gantt chart view, we see those same issues physically planted in a point in time, with its linked and dependent issues placed relative to it. The Jira Gantt chart view gives a structured, clear and comprehensive view of future events and what must happen.
Jira Gantt view vs. Jira Gantt chart
Is there any difference at all? For some insiders the two terms are equal.
For others a subtle difference exists and here is why:
- When one googles “Jira Gantt view”, one might mean just a graphical overlay applied to Jira’s issues. One might expect that a Gantt module itself won’t keep any tasks, or won’t maintain its own “database” of tasks. Some Gantt plugins for Jira implement the concept of the “pure graphical overlay” and we consider them better. Why? When you drag&drop tasks on a Gantt chart with 1000s of tasks changes made to colourful bars must be automatically reflected in Jira’s tasks. It would be unrealistic to expect from a project manager to drag&drop bars on Gantt chart and then again manually correct dates and times in the tasks’ detail pages, so that Jira “knows” what changes had been made on the Gantt.
- On the other hand “Jira Gantt chart” might imply a more standalone app. The one that, in theory, might not sync with Jira. Strangely some cheaper solutions work this way. So you could install such a Gantt chart in your Jira environment and, yes, you could get an empty Gantt chart, even though you have several projects with dozens of tasks in your Jira. Obviously few project managers will want such a not-in-sync Gantt chart plugin.
Which Gantt chart plugin to choose?
Search “gantt” on Atlassian Marketplace and you’ll see around 10 Gantt chart apps. How different are they? Here is the BigGantt developers’ point of view:
- Not a single Gantt chart plugin on Atlassian Marketplace is the same. They all differ and certainly some of them are better than others.
- The older the solution, the more mature it usually is. Check “Versions” tab on Atlassian Marketplace, than click the “See all” link. You could also judge by a plugin’s number of active instances, roughly equal to the number of clients that use the app.
- You can test most of the Gantt plugins free of charge for 30 days.
- As a rule of thumb reject a plugin that doesn’t feature the real-time 2-way sync, i.e. changes made to Jira tasks’ details must be immediately reflected on the Gantt view. Likewise in the opposite direction: changes done to “bars” on the Gantt chart must be reflected in Jira issues.
- We certify that BigGantt boasts this real-time sync with Jira and in addition:
- is capable of showing Jira’s parent to child links as Gantt dependencies,
- can display several projects on a single Gantt chart,
- and its roadmaps integrate with Gantt view.
- Check if your Gantt plugin of choice has artificial tasks. Example: a consumer electronics manufacturer could outsource testing to an external testing company. Testing tasks would be absent from the manufacturer’s Jira, but its project manager could elect to create the “External testing” artificial task on their Gantt view, to visualise a period of time necessary for testing. Again, BigGantt, as well as the Gantt module of BigPicture, both have the artificial tasks.
- Test your Gantt app, whether it can colour bars according to status of issues. BigGantt has extensive colouring features, such as blue “to do” bars, yellow “in progress” bars and green “done” bars. Custom colouring is also available.
- Can you export your Gantt view to PDF to send it to a CEO or a consulting company? Many clients appreciate this feature of BigGantt.
- We are aware of one Gantt chart plugin on Atlassian Marketplace that, although in sync with Jira, concatenates several Jira fields and makes such a lengthy “string” available on their Gantt chart. Surely you don’t want this to be happening with your issues.
From SoftwarePlant’s Key Account:
Naturally, we would recommend BigGantt and the BigGantt module of BigPicture. However, this would be highly biased. There are other alternatives although one must thoroughly investigate the suitability and appropriateness of each solution to their own requirements and Jira environment.
BigGantt is a versatile tool, suitable for small user tiers all the way to enterprise scale. Whether you apply agile or waterfall methodologies, or a combination of both, BigGantt delivers. The Jira Gantt chart view allows interrogation of tasks and related sub-tasks, which could be agile sprints, by expanding a collapsing parent-child relationships. Furthermore, the Jira Gantt chart view allows the PM to drag and drop tasks and sub-tasks along the timeline. Such changes to tasks or even an adjustment to the project baseline in this way, automatically changes issue or task start and end dates and dependency links within your Jira data.
Example: Imagine an enterprise scale organisation operating multiple projects with multiple teams in the automotive industry. Design, engineering and production teams need to be closely coordinated. Thousands of tasks and sub-tasks are dependent upon as many factors. The ability to drill down on the Gantt chart view in Jira to every more detailed levels becomes ever more essential to visualise dependencies and control data of the overall project.
Is the Gantt chart that critical to project managers? It is impossible to visualise the project without one. A Jira Gantt chart view provides an “at a glance” status of your project’s progress, backlogs, dependencies of issues and, most importantly, the critical path.
Integrations! BigPicture talks to its peer apps more and more. With BigPicture 8, you’ll soon be able to connect TFS, many Jira Cloud/Server instances, and Trello so that you can source tasks from there and manage your portfolio under one roof. How about ‘classic’ integrations with Tempo, Portfolio for Jira, and other plugins? And is there the REST API available? Read the guide.
How to run planning sessions — from Gantt chart to Scope, to Roadmap, to Risks. We discuss BigPicture modules, one by one. Read more.
Are you into risk management? We compared eight risk management plugins for Jira, one of them is BigPicture. Read more.
See you at:
- Global SAFe Summit in Denver, Sep 23-24, 2020