Today on Twitter, I saw a tweet by Andreas Hubenthal, who I already know since early school years. He mentioned Instagantt, which is a two-way synchronization extension for the popular task management application Asana. As the solution name already suggested, it was designed to enable Gantt charting for projects you are managing on Asana, and as a project manager, I wanted to check that out more and gave it a test drive.
You only have to connect it up to your Asana account by logging in with your credentials or authentication via a social media platform account, and then you may choose what project you want to work on. If you don’t have a project, just quickly create one on Asana before you try gantting the void.
What is a Gantt Chart?
A Gantt chart is a visualization of activities represented by bar elements that have a width to reflect their planned duration on a time axis. This type of chart that is popular for project management was named after Henry Gantt, who was an American mechanical engineer and management consultant. Gantt designed this type of visualization around the years of 1910 – 1915.
Features of Instagantt
Even though Instagantt seems to work with all browsers I tested, I found that it worked a little crunchy in Internet Explorer. Browsers like Chrome felt a little better from my personal user experience, especially with drag and drop controls.
In Instagantt, you are able to create tasks and sub-task items that you can associate with metadata, such as a timeframe in which that particular task has to be worked on. You can also map these tasks into sections to keep a better overview in case you are managing complex projects with several phases or that require input from different teams.
Similar to heavyweight industry software standards such as Microsoft Project, you are also able to set up dependencies between tasks in case task B can’t be started until task A has been completed. With such automation in place, the system knows that when you take longer with task A, task B will be moved on its own. Of course, you can always do the fine-tuning but automating such steps usually makes things easier.
Instagantt also offers you filters and workload overview so you can better manage your team members and keep a good overview of what everybody is doing and how busy or idle they are. Check that out to know who you can assign a new task with. Very useful functions at the end of the day, in order to manage both big picture work and low-level detail.
The Instagantt solution syncs live with Asana and takes away the stress to manage different things in separate platforms. It also invites for good team collaboration that is mostly involved in project management. Whether that’s the review of a document or just a quick comment on a work item, it’s all there and seems to work nicely.
In case you are running a project of public interest, you can also share read-only states of your project with everybody on the Internet. In case you want to report your project status to someone who is not part of your working team and not using Instagantt / Asana, you can export the charts and provide the information to your stakeholders with other means of communication such as a classic email attachment.
— Andreas (@suddenbreak) October 1, 2015
While, of course, a project can be pretty much about any type of subject, the Instagantt team emphasizes the use of their solution for the following activities:
- Self Management
- Project Management
- Resource Planning
- Workload Management
- Editorial Calendar
- Event Calendar
I think it might even be of use to a wider range of applications. What could you use it for?
Status of Development
Instagantt has been in public beta since June 2013 based on their Twitter account. While this seems like a long time to develop an extension for a cloud-enabled solution, I found no issues in using Instagantt, so it’s likely to be close to being turned into a production state. It was also developed by just one person who is Daniel Guajardo Kushner, and that somewhat justifies the time that went into proper beta testing and bug fixing.
Based on the information on their homepage, there will be a limited free version after launch as well as a fully-fledged version enabled by a monthly subscription fee. Go check it out yourself if you are looking for a way to bring your Asana projects to a new level of clarity.
Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg
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