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Aug 14

How to use ASAP scheduling on a Gantt chart in Jira

One reason project managers stick to MS Project is its ingenious ASAP, or As Soon As Possible scheduling mode. ASAP planning ensures that there is no unnecessary standstill in your project and that its lifespan is just right. With ASAP scheduling you, as a project manager, get optimized, ‘squeezed’ schedule. Here’s how to schedule tasks ASAP in Jira.

First, you might want to get a scheduling app from the Atlassian Marketplace to boost Jira’s capabilities. Gantt chart plugins are perfect for this. Then, check to see if the app supports ASAP scheduling. We’ve just added ASAP mode to BigGantt ver. 3.12/BigPicture 6.14, so let’s look closer at how to use ASAP planning with these tools in Jira.

Jump to: What is ASAP scheduling?

How does ASAP scheduling work in BigPicture/BigGantt?

BigPicture and BigGantt are project management apps for Jira and they both have a Gantt chart module. To do ASAP scheduling on a Gantt chart, you first need to link tasks with arrows. These arrows symbolize dependencies between tasks.

Then, you can click a dependency arrow. That’s when the ASAP mode checkbox appears. What happens when you check the box?

ASAP mode, link between tasks, Jira Gantt

ASAP mode is a setting that appears when you click on a link between two tasks. The ASAP checkbox also influences the ‘Lag time’ field as described in the examples below. Pictured is the Gantt chart module of BigGantt/BigPicture.


‘ASAP mode’ checked, ‘Lag time’ = 0.

When you enable the ASAP mode on the link between PXI-16 and PXI-17, the gray arrow will turn orange and the PXI-17 task will be rescheduled automatically so that it will directly follow its predecessor on a timeline.

ASAP mode enabled, task link

Once the ‘ASAP mode’ is enabled, the four-business-day time gap between the tasks vanishes.


‘ASAP mode’ checked, ‘Lag time’ = 2.

The gray arrow turns blue and the PXI-17 task is separated from the PXI-16 by two business days, namely Friday and Monday.

ASAP mode and lag time 2 days

‘ASAP mode’ has been enabled and the lag time is set to two days.


Obviously, you could enable the ‘ASAP mode’ for all the links in a sequence

ASAP scheduling Jira Gantt chart

The two links in the sequence are now in ASAP mode.

You can switch ASAP mode on by default for each newly created link. This can be done in the ‘Gantt configuration’ tab at the program level.


But more importantly…

You can now drag and drop the entire chain of linked tasks in both directions. As you can see in the picture below, the non-working days, as set in workload and holiday plans, are automatically skipped.  Dozens of our clients had demanded the feature and we listened – it’s now available in both BigGantt and BigPicture.

Drag and drop linked tasks on Jira Gantt chart

Drag & drop a chain of linked tasks forward and backward.

Would you like to learn more about ASAP scheduling in BigPicture and BigGantt? Check out the ASAP scheduling documentation.


What is ASAP scheduling?

Think of your personal calendar, be it Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook. You could have planned to mow your lawn on Saturday, but then on Thursday the weather forecast changes and you need to ten to your garden on Friday. In that scenario, you would just drag and drop the ‘Mow the garden’ task in your calendar.

It’s not that straightforward in the professional world. In project management software, tasks are often linked to each other with ‘arrows’, or dependencies, as they need to occur sequentially, with the end-to-start constraint being most popular among project managers. Task B, for instance, could have been scheduled to start only after Task A has finished. Sequences of 10 bound tasks are not unheard of. Imagine how much of a headache just rescheduling one of them can be.

This is where ASAP scheduling is useful. It helps you save precious resources by ‘compressing’ the sequence of events automatically. Of course, there are situations where ASAP mode cannot be used:

  • a Jira admin might have locked a task in place,
  • a project manager might have locked a more complicated parent task with multiple sub-tasks for the sake of timeboxing,
  • a Jira-BP/BG user might have switched a task to manual mode and made it non-ASAP-schedulable
  • lag time might have been set for a dependency between tasks, such as a two-day gap between Task B and C.

…and all these situations are supported in BigPicture/BigGantt for Jira.

About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.