The Critical Path Engine: Leaving Gantt Charts in the Dust
It’s Monday morning. Jessica finishes sending the kids to school and rejoices as she hears the “bong” indicating her computer is rebooting—it gives her a few minutes to enjoy her Nespresso. She’s been up since 5am and will have to work efficiently if she wants to join her friend’s Instagram Live HIIT workout and still be ready for carpool pickup at 3:30. As she watches the icons repopulate her desktop’s menu bar, she prepares for her next order of business: review the status of her projects listed on her company’s software platform to see what issues have popped up since yesterday.
If Jessica were like most people, she would open a Gantt chart for a status review. Seeing only 6% of the tasks listed as late in “red,” she may decide to greenlight her project with the label “green.” The problem is one of those late tasks includes getting a budget approval for a major investment necessary to complete her project, thus warranting a “red” flag. But if she flags it red, she’ll need to call out the exec who’s dragging his heels, and that could be a career ender. So maybe “yellow?” Jessica spends the next 10 minutes debating what color flag to use. Without line of sight into why 6% of her tasks are late, guessing a status color is about all Jessica can do using a Gantt chart.
Thankfully, Jessica uses Moovila. So instead, she’s able to see her project automatically updated to not only “red,” but now calculated for risk at a score of 661 (out of 1,000)—significantly down from 817 since Friday. She clicks on the project bringing up a more in-depth critical path view showing real-time information and exactly which tasks are running late. One task marked “delayed acceptance” is creating a bottleneck causing a 4-day delay to her forecasted delivery date. She clicks the task and sees the executive responsible for holding up the approval. Taking a moment to review the details of the task, Jessica sees he has all the necessary information: investment description, ROI calculation, linked additional information, and a discussion thread should any questions arise. With a click, she nudges the executive with a reminder. From the same screen, she also sends him a chat message visible to everyone included on the task, noting the project will soon be running late without his approval. Immediately he responds, giving a thumbs up—mission completed. No need to send out status emails to her boss or team member as everyone has a clear status view from their Moovila dashboards.
That’s the difference between relying on just a Gantt chart and Moovila’s ability to provide in-depth project detail through the Critical Path view. Gantt Charts are useful in providing project managers with the ability to outline and overlay tasks across a timeline. Moovila offers that too, but also shows the sequence and duration of the tasks and the order in which they need to be completed to meet project deadlines.
So why don’t more project managers use the critical path methodology? The short answer is that it takes hours of manual labor and is not easy to calculate, it requires training, and those with the specialized skills necessary are in short supply. These obstacles have kept the critical path historically out of reach for most project managers.
Not anymore. Moovila’s unique, built-in Critical Path Engine makes all the power of the critical path method available for people like Jessica. Moovila automatically assesses every line of every project in a portfolio to determine a project’s risk level and calculate an accurate delivery date. It’s easy to zoom into detail without losing sight of the entire portfolio of projects. And while there are a number of benefits of moving to a critical-path-based system, Moovila didn’t stop at just providing different views. (Critical Path, Gantt Chart, Kanban, dashboard, Power Grid, calendar, thumbnail.) The details accessible provide automated forecasting, integrated scheduling, a project plan debugger to find and fix flaws, as well as about two dozen additional features—automatic, AI-driven project risk assessments and even AI support.
So, is it worth switching from a limited, Gantt chart-based project management system to one that also offers the critical path method? Absolutely—especially with a system like Moovila’s Critical Path Engine doing the work for you, with no project management training required. Like combustion engines, Gantt charts and Gantt-based software have reached their limited value. They often deliver small usability enhancements, which sound good, until you realize that you are now using software that is really just scaling your bad data and mistakes.
If you’d like to learn more about Moovila’s Critical Path Engine, sign up for a demo and see for yourself.