Harvard’s Hot Takes on the Future of Gantt Charts

Harvard’s Hot Takes on the Future of Gantt Charts

In one of our recent blog articles, we talked about how we were predicting the future of Gantt Charts. In our previous analysis we discussed how the future of project planning would move away from the rigid and outdated nature of Gantt Charts, and would move more to visual first solutions like Proggio’s project and portfolio maps.

After further examination and additional research, we found out that Harvard also agreed with our point of view. In this article, we will review Harvard Business Review’s hot takes on Gantt charts and outdated rigid project planning methods, and how you can prevent your organization from falling into common Gantt pitfalls.

Hot Take #1

“Unfortunately, no Gantt chart survives contact with reality. No plan can anticipate every event that might help or hinder a company trying to achieve its strategic objectives.”

What is the point of having a plan if it has no hope of helping you in the reality of the moments when your team needs to change plans and adapt? What is the point of using a tool just for the sake of having a tool to write out your plans but makes it harder to execute your plans?

Agility is key when it comes to selecting a solution that can help you proactively adapt to changes that are necessarily part of any project’s evolution. You should be using solutions that can keep up with the pace of change.

“PMI data shows that organizations that can adapt and evolve are nearly twice as agile, more productive and able to deliver better value—meeting their project objectives while staying on budget and with less waste. On the other hand, organizations that can’t react quickly to change or are unable to forecast trends and capitalize on them are at risk of being quickly passed up by the competition.”

Hot Take #2

“Such real-time adjustments require firms to be agile. Yet a lack of agility is a major obstacle to effective execution among the companies we have studied. When asked to name the greatest challenge their companies will face in executing strategy over the next few years, nearly one-third of managers cite difficulties adapting to changing market circumstances.”

You can make all the plans in the world, but if your organization has a lack of adaptability when it comes to your project planning, your organization is going to continue to fall behind on meeting its business goals.

Harvard Business Review goes on to say, “But most organizations either react so slowly that they can’t seize fleeting opportunities or mitigate emerging threats (29%), or react quickly but lose sight of company strategy (24%). Just as managers want more structure in the processes to support coordination, they crave more structure in the processes used to adapt to changing circumstances.”

In the dynamic landscape of project management, the ability to adapt swiftly is paramount for achieving operational excellence. To navigate this complexity successfully, teams must possess the agility to adjust their strategies, workflows, and resource allocations promptly. 

Adapting quickly enables teams to respond effectively to shifting requirements, emerging risks, and unexpected opportunities. It allows for a proactive approach to problem-solving, fostering resilience and innovation within the team. 

Hot Take #3

When managers come up with creative solutions to unforeseen problems or run with unexpected opportunities, they are not undermining systematic implementation; they are demonstrating execution at its best”.

In a rapidly changing business environment, the capacity to adapt ensures that project management teams remain aligned with organizational goals, customer expectations, and industry trends, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the projects they undertake. Operational excellence is not just about having a well-structured plan but also about the team’s ability to flexibly and efficiently address the evolving needs of the project and the broader business context.

Having a business structure that supports a culture when team members are encouraged to adapt to changes on the ground makes it easier for organizations to meet their business objectives. Also, when that kind of culture is implemented with a visual PPM solution that enables fast and quick adaptability, teams can easily make the necessary transitions.

What kind of PPM solution can help prevent these common problems?

Unlike rigid Gantt charts, Proggio’s visual maps provide a dynamic representation of project interdependencies and timelines. This flexibility allows teams to swiftly adjust plans, allocate resources efficiently, and respond promptly to changing project requirements.

By offering a real-time, holistic view of the entire project portfolio, Proggio enables project management teams to proactively manage uncertainties, fostering adaptability that is essential for achieving operational excellence in today’s fast-paced business environment. Proggio’s project portfolio maps stand out as superior alternatives to traditional Gantt charts due to their inherent adaptability, crucial for attaining operational excellence.

Check out this video that explains our patented maps:


We have covered the limitations of Gantt charts, aligning with Harvard’s criticism of their lack of adaptability in project planning. Harvard emphasizes the need for organizational agility, crucial for effective execution and strategy adaptation. Proggio’s project portfolio maps emerge as superior alternatives to Gantt charts, offering dynamic flexibility for swift adjustments, resource allocation, and proactive response to challenges. In a landscape where adaptability is vital for operational excellence, Proggio’s visual maps empower project teams to navigate uncertainties, contributing to project success and overall organizational objectives.

1 https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-strategy-execution-unravelsand-what-to-do-about-it

2 https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2022/12/02/ensuring-your-project-management-strategy-keeps-pace-with-your-needs/?sh=313fd4784af0

3 https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-strategy-execution-unravelsand-what-to-do-about-it

4 https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-strategy-execution-unravelsand-what-to-do-about-it

5   https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-strategy-execution-unravelsand-what-to-do-about-it

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