Ever tried to coordinate a big project? And I mean a HUGE project, one where you have to sync up plans between multiple people or teams, all doing different stuff. But some tasks can't begin until others have completed, and other tasks have to be happening simultaneously.
Meeting the deadline for something like that hinges on getting everything choreographed just so; ensuring that everyone understands what's expected of them by when, who they can ask when they have questions, and how they fit into the larger scope of the project.
When you're preparing to tackle something that large, the organization of your approach is actually its own task that needs to be completed before you can really begin anything else. And trying to capture all the intricacies of something like that in a standard calendar is an exercise in frustration. So, how do project managers and team leads handle it? Enter: the React Gantt Chart. In this blog, we'll be looking at how to use Gantt charts in general, but for illustration purposes, let's take a look at the KendoReact Gantt Chart.
A Gantt chart is a kind of hybrid between a data grid and a calendar, created specifically for project management. Like a calendar, it not only allows you to input all the tasks (of course), but also their timelines, dependencies, categories and more. It creates a visual view of all these timelines and dependencies that makes it easy for the user to understand the scope of a project at a glance. Then, like a data grid, it allows you to filter, sort, reorder and otherwise organize the information however the user needs in order to assess the current state of the project.
If you’d like to hear Kathryn talk about this, check out the companion video, What is a Gantt Chart and When to Use It In Your React App.
The KendoReact Gantt Chart also comes with a few extra features—like time zone and globalization support for remote teams, the ability to convert flat data into the Gantt-style tree view, and keyboard navigation for full accessibility—that can help take your project management software to the next level.
There are tons of different ways to track a project, all with varying complexity: from Kanban boards to calendars, or even just basic to-do lists. A Gantt chart is powerful and takes a little bit of configuration, so it might be overkill for simple projects. In general, the best user experience for your application is the simplest, but you also don't want to be passing over features that would make your users' lives easier, if they had access to them.
So, how do you know when your users would benefit from a Gantt? Here are a few rules of thumb that that you can use to help determine when it's time to step up from the more basic tools:
Who are your users? The people working on the project will always help determine the usage of a Gantt chart more than the project itself will. There are three main ways in which your userbase can help you determine the types of tools best suited to them:
What kinds of projects are they using your application to manage? Even the smallest, tightest group of people can benefit from the use of a Gantt chart when tacking a particularly thorny project. Here are a couple ways to use project type to determine your decision to include a Gantt chart:
The timeline: Very short timelines and very long timelines can (ironically) be equally difficult to manage. With a short timeline, it's crucial that everything is planned as accurately as possible, and that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them in order to finish on time. With a long timeline, it can be easy to lose track of what's supposed to be happening when, and the longer window can create the illusion of having all the time in the world with no urgency at all. Both situations benefit from the usage of a Gantt chart, which helps your users view the timeline in an intuitive and visual way, connecting tasks to each other directly and showing how much of the available time is allotted for each one.
If you've just gone through that list and feel like your React app could benefit from the inclusion of a Gantt, then I'd strongly recommend taking a look at the KendoReact Gantt Chart. The Gantt Chart in general is a somewhat less common component, so you might not find it in just any component library—but KendoReact not only includes a beautifully designed React Gantt Chart, it also offers a handful of additional features that will make your users' project planning so much easier:
Knowing the current status of every task, what you're waiting on, who's responsible, and how much time you have left are all crucial parts of managing a large project that are all made exponentially easier with a Gantt chart. If you're creating software where your users will be handling larger or more complex project management tasks, then providing them with this option can ease their jobs significantly.
Consider whether the Gantt is a good fit for your application, and then take a look at the KendoReact Gantt Chart docs for a deep dive on everything this powerful component is capable of!
Kathryn Grayson Nanz is a developer advocate at Progress with a passion for React, UI and design and sharing with the community. She started her career as a graphic designer and was told by her Creative Director to never let anyone find out she could code because she’d be stuck doing it forever. She ignored his warning and has never been happier. You can find her writing, blogging, streaming and tweeting about React, design, UI and more. You can find her at @kathryngrayson on Twitter.
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