Chapter Four: The Gantt Chart is Dead

“Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face”

Image thanks to Johann Walter Bantz on Unsplash
  1. Where the Gantt Chart comes from.
  2. Why do we will still use the Gantt?

The History of the Gantt

These charts are called Gantt charts, after Henry Gantt, who developed them.

With the advent of personal computers in the 1980s making it easy to create these intricate charts — and to make them really complex — they have become works of art.

Every single step laid out in detail. Every milestone. Every delivery date.

The charts truly are impressive to behold.

The only problem is with them is that they are always wrong.

Henry Gantt invented his famous charts around 1910.

They were first used in World War 1 by General William Crozier, who was the Chief of Ordinance for the US Army.

Anyone who has studied that war knows that efficient organisational capability was, not exactly a salient feature.

Why a World War 1 artefact has become the de facto tool used in twenty-first century

Project Management has never been quite clear to me.

We gave up on trench warfare, but somehow the ideas that organised it are still popular” ~ Scrum | Page 5

So why do we still use them?

I can’t tell my board that.

I worked on a shutdown early in 2020 where we had four people fulltime around the clock {2 days — 2 nights} literally just updating the Gantt.

“The trouble is, once that beautifully elegant plan meets reality, it falls apart.

Because instead of scrapping the plan, or the way they think about the plan, managers instead hire people to make it look as if the plan is working.

Essentially, they’re paying people to lie to them” Scrum | Page 5

Before that shut down started I was talking to the overall manager of it.

“If I tell my board of directors that you’re going to run the shutdown with sticky notes — a sharpie and a whiteboard, I’ll be out of a job.

The idea of replacing a Gantt with Scrum just isn’t possible.”

The Sunk Cost Effect

The sunk cost effect is the more eloquent way of saying throwing good money after bad.

Early adopters will put up with cost, ridicule, and friction to get their need met” Erika Hall. Author, Just Enough Research

It’s rare to find a Troublemaker {unless they own it} at the top of an organisation.

The answer is one Troublemaker at a time.

I first met the legendary Troublemaker Padraig O’Shea {anymore Irish he’d be a leprechaun} on an oil and gas project in South West Queensland back in 2013.

“You’d better be putting me in that fecking Troublemaker book Beanieeeeee”

Paddy like all good Troublemakers doesn’t mess around and is quick to implement.

The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader” ~ Derek Sivers

Hey Beanie, I want to know more about Scrum.

Because the way I see it you and I have two choices…



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Troublemaker Coach

Troublemaker Coach

Back when I went to School the Teachers had a name for me… Troublemaker. Turns out though out in the real world being a Troublemaker is my biggest advantage!