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Mar 13

Do you need Gantt chart View in Jira? How to have one?

Within Jira – both Jira Core and Jira Software, and Jira Datacenter – there is no true Gantt chart view. What added value does Gantt view bring to Jira? What subtle difference is there between “Jira Gantt view” and “Jira Gantt chart”?  Whereas so many brilliant Gantt plugins are available on Atlassian Marketplace, are some better than others, and how to tell the best?

Jira view Gantto chart

Gantt chart view in Jira positions the present in relation to the past and future. In other words, the Gantt view shows the in-progress tasks in some time context and also dependencies between tasks. Same as an analog watch.

Why is the Gantt chart view so crucial?

Gantt chart in Jira

A mature Gantt chart view in Jira. Why mature? Not only neatly designed, but also with 2-way sync, i.e. drag&drop’s made to Gantt change both the bars on Gantt and data in Jira.

A simple analogy:  A digital watch tells you the time at a point in time.  It is correct and informative.  A traditional chronograph watch also tells the time at that point but you are able to see time moving forward into the future, a visualization of minutes and hours to come.

A simple Jira report or JQL filter provides data at a point, but in one dimension.  When we observe the same issues on a Jira Gantt chart view, we see those same issues physically planted at the point in time, with linked and dependent issues.  The Jira Gantt chart view gives a structured, clear, and comprehensive view of past and future events.

Jira Gantt view vs. Jira Gantt chart

Is there any difference at all? For some insiders the two terms are equal.

For others a subtle difference exists and here is why:

  • When one googles “Jira Gantt view”, one might mean just a graphical overlay applied to Jira’s issues. One might expect that a Gantt module itself won’t keep any tasks, or won’t maintain its own “database” of tasks. Some Gantt plugins for Jira implement the concept of the “pure graphical overlay” and we consider them better. Why? When you drag&drop tasks on a Gantt chart with 1000s of tasks changes made to colorful bars must be automatically reflected in Jira’s tasks. It would be unrealistic to expect a project manager to drag&drop bars on the Gantt chart and then again manually correct dates and times in the tasks’ detail pages so that Jira “knows” what changes had been made on the Gantt.
  • On the other hand “Jira Gantt chart” might imply a more standalone app. The one that, in theory, might not sync with Jira. Strangely some cheaper solutions work this way. So you could install such a Gantt chart in your Jira environment and, yes, you could get an empty Gantt chart, even though you have several projects with dozens of tasks in your Jira. Obviously few project managers will want such a not-in-sync Gantt chart plugin.


Which Gantt chart plugin to choose?

Search “gantt” on Atlassian Marketplace and you’ll see around 10 Gantt chart apps. How different are they? Here is the BigGantt developers’ point of view:

  • Not a single Gantt chart plugin on Atlassian Marketplace is the same. They all differ and certainly, some of them are better than others.
  • The older the solution, the more mature it usually is. Check the “Versions” tab on Atlassian Marketplace, then click the “See all” link. You could also judge by a plugin’s number of active instances, roughly equal to the number of clients that use the app.
  • You can test most of the Gantt plugins free of charge for 30 days.
  • As a rule of thumb reject a plugin that doesn’t feature the real-time 2-way sync, i.e. changes made to Jira tasks’ details must be immediately reflected on the Gantt view. Likewise in the opposite direction: changes done to “bars” on the Gantt chart must be reflected in Jira issues.
  • We certify that BigGantt boasts this real-time sync with Jira and in addition:
    • is capable of showing Jira’s parent to child links as Gantt dependencies,
    • can display several projects on a single Gantt chart,
    • and its roadmaps integrate with Gantt view.
  • Check if your Gantt plugin of choice has artificial tasks. For example, a consumer electronics manufacturer could outsource testing to an external testing company. Testing tasks would be absent from the manufacturer’s Jira, but its project manager could elect to create the “External testing” artificial task on their Gantt view, to visualize a period of time necessary for testing. Again, BigGantt, as well as the Gantt module of BigPicture, both have artificial tasks.
  • Test your Gantt app, whether it can color bars according to the status of issues. BigGantt has extensive coloring features, such as blue “to do” bars, yellow “in progress” bars, and green “done” bars. Custom coloring is also available.
  • Can you export your Gantt view to PDF to send it to a CEO or a consulting company? Many clients appreciate this feature of BigGantt.
  • We are aware of one Gantt chart plugin on Atlassian Marketplace that, although in sync with Jira, concatenates several Jira fields and makes such a lengthy “string” available on their Gantt chart. Surely you don’t want this to be happening with your issues.


Tasks detailed view on Jira Gantt view

Click a task on SoftwarePlant’s Gantt chart to immediately switch to the detail view of the task. Check other Gantt chart plugins for this.


From SoftwarePlant’s Key Account:

Naturally, we would recommend BigGantt and the BigGantt module of BigPicture.  However, this would be highly biased.  There are other alternatives although one must thoroughly investigate the suitability and appropriateness of each solution to their own requirements and Jira environment.

BigGantt is a versatile tool, suitable for small user tiers all the way to enterprise scale.  Whether you apply agile or waterfall methodologies, or a combination of both, BigGantt delivers.  The Jira Gantt chart view allows interrogation of tasks and related subtasks, which could be agile sprints, by expanding collapsing parent-child relationships. Furthermore, the Jira Gantt chart view allows the PM to drag and drop tasks and sub-tasks along the timeline.  Such changes to tasks or even an adjustment to the project baseline in this way automatically change issue or task start and end dates and dependency links within your Jira data.

Example: Imagine an enterprise-scale organization operating multiple projects with multiple teams in the automotive industry.  Design, engineering, and production teams need to be closely coordinated.  Thousands of tasks and sub-tasks are dependent upon many factors.  The ability to drill down on the Gantt chart view in Jira to more detailed levels becomes ever more essential to visualize dependencies and control data of the overall project.

Is the Gantt chart that critical to project managers? It is impossible to visualize the project without one. A Jira Gantt chart view provides an “at a glance” status of your project’s progress, backlogs, dependencies of issues, and, most importantly, the critical path.


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.