“We all love using Redbooth here. The one thing we wish it had is…Gantt.”
Redbooth users, you’ve spoken — and you’ve been heard! We’re thrilled to share that Gantt is coming to Redbooth.
Longtime users may remember that Gantt was once part of the Redbooth platform — rest assured that the new and improved Gantt is going to be better and more user-friendly than ever before.
As Redbooth’s product managers, designers, and engineers work over the next few months on developing and launching Gantt, you’ll have a front-row seat to the process. This post is the first of a series that will take you behind the scenes to follow their progress and get an inside look.
Understanding the need for Gantt
Irwin Kwan, Senior Product Manager, remembers Redbooth’s previous Gantt capabilities. “We found that our previous version of Gantt wasn’t providing the type of insight our customers wanted on their projects,” he recalls. “There were several reasons for that. The way we had constructed it, it didn’t visualize information as well as it could have. So we went back to the drawing board.”
The team discovered that although the feature had certain shortcomings, it was still valued by the customers who used it. There was just something about the Gantt format that users found compelling.
“And so listening to our customers, we decided to further investigate not only Gantt, but how people visualize their progress in a wide variety of ways,” says Irwin. “We started talking to a lot of current customers — as well as potential customers — to understand their needs.”
Some of the people the product team spoke with were already seeking to create a Gantt-like experience on their own.
“In our interviews, we looked closely at how people were visualizing their progress — for example, with makeshift timelines, white boards, or spreadsheets. We’d ask more questions to better understand it: ‘Okay, tell us about why you do it this way.’” says Sarah Tanner, UX/UI Designer.
The team was determined not to make any assumptions — a mindset that served them well. For example, when they’d ask about certain built-in project visualization capabilities in software they were using, the answers could be surprising.
“Sometimes they would say, ‘Oh, we never really actually use this feature,” Sarah says. “So it was about trying to figure out which parts of the traditional Gantt approach were valuable and how to create a solution that would best serve our users.”
After the initial round of information-gathering interviews had been completed, it was time to start turning the customer insights into sketches and wireframes to validate the ideas.
“We followed up personally with our customers to share early mockups based on what we learned from them. Their reactions and thoughts were incredibly valuable,” Sarah says.
A customer-driven vision
The most exciting news for users is that the plans for the new Redbooth Gantt features aren’t just influenced by customer feedback — they’re being driven by customer vision.
“Talking to our customers and inviting them to drive the conversation around Gantt was enlightening for the entire team,” says Irwin. “We now understand the reasoning of both why they’re looking for Gantt, as well as specifically how customers expect Gantt to solve the challenges they run into as team leaders, managers, and even project managers.”
What made it a uniquely complex undertaking was a question that sounds simple at first: What is Gantt?
“That’s because Gantt means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” Irwin says. “As we talked to more and more of our customers, the point that they continually raised was really about looking at their team’s work from a progress perspective. It was about understanding at a specific point in time, usually today, ‘Is my project on track? Do I have tasks that are slipping behind? And how does that affect the rest of my project and the rest of my work?’”
Answering those questions is mission-critical for many Redbooth users, Irwin adds. “In many cases, we were talking to professional services agencies and firms, so it was necessary for them to be able to share progress reports with both clients and management, not to mention on-time deliverables.”
“The Gantt that we’re developing for Redbooth now will make our users’ workflow more efficient,” Irwin says. “This in turn will allow them to focus on other things — whether that’s relationship-building with their clients, or making it possible for them to get out there and build their business.”
When Gantt returns to Redbooth, it’s going to be designed precisely to meet your real-life needs as a customer, without clunky additional features that overcomplicate and get in the way.
“Our customers helped us distill down what were the right things to focus on for Gantt,” says Irwin. “Right now we’re still in the early stages of the process, and we’re committed to getting it right. It’s all about making it easier than ever to help our customers keep their projects and deliverables on track.”
Check out the next posts in this series: Behind the Scenes: Designing Gantt for Redbooth and Bringing Gantt Charts to Life: The Developer Perspective >>
Update: Instant Gantt charts have launched! Find out more »
Illustration by Sarah Tanner