Gantt Charts are well known in the Project Management profession. They’ve been there for decades and its origin goes back to the mid-1890s and involves a Polish engineer but it became widely popular when an American Engineer named Mr. Henry Gantt decided to tailor the chart to its taste some 15 years later (source: Wikipedia). Now, these charts revealing project tasks and their interdependencies, their position in time and the project critical path are being used virtually in all domains: marketing, events, construction, airplane building, R&D, construction, engineering, software development, you name it.
Gantt Charts are a representative tool used in what is now called Predictive Project Management, an approach to manage projects based on a large planning stage (when a Gantt Chart is built) followed by an even larger executing phase when the product of the project is actually built.
What was once exclusively used in Engineering projects is now expanded to all industries, for-profit and not-for-profit, private and public, large and small.
Let’s switch gears for a moment and look at the Agile Manifesto, a list of four values and twelve principles carved in 2001 by seventeen people who wanted to determine some ground rules for various software development practices that were emerging at the time without a common foundation (source: AgileManifesto.org). The Manifesto was then born. Almost two decades later, we now witness the application of Agile practices in industries other than software development, although it’s still shy in some.
What was once a Project Management framework born in the Engineering sector, the Predictive or Waterfall approach evolved to become a practice widely adopted in the world. Similarly, what once was an approach born in the intricate software development ecosystem, the Agile approach is now becoming largely adopted in other industries.
It is time to realize that the only relationship that the Agile Mindset keeps with the software development industry is the same relationship that the Predictive Project Management approach maintains with Engineering: they happened to be born in those respective sectors. That’s all. The Agile Mindset is now spreading to all industries and now, even more with the raise of Disciplined Agile. But this is a topic for another story.