Today, all PM software is based on a Gantt chart or its modifications. As we all know, Gantt charts are two dimensional. They are based on two-dimensional math model using two-dimensional works-time space.
IMHO the reason for this is the following. Gantt was invented in pre-computer times and was designed to be drawn by hand in ink on sheets of paper. If in 1903 when Karol Adamiecki invented the Gantt chart, we would have wanted to use math models in three dimensions instead of two, we would have had no other choice, but to make the sculpture.
Fortunately, more than 100 years already passed. Modern hardware and software offer us a lot of new opportunities. Why are they not being fully utilized? Why are we still using the same outdated charts? Think what a revolution in design has made the three-dimensional virtual models and multi-layered GUI of AutoCAD, which replaced the old drawings, which were made by hand in ink on sheets of paper as Gantt charts before.
Why don’t we try to do something similar in the PM?
Two-dimensional math model and two-dimensional charts, in my opinion, are the bottleneck of today’s PM. One of the two dimensions is occupied by time. Just one variable – works left for project scope. IMHO, this is a serious limitation.
First of all PMBOK doesn’t like it. PMBOK itself, as well as Practical Standard for Work Breakdown Structure uses binary concept of deliverables and activities. The use of these two variables, as convincingly shown in the above-mentioned PMI standards, enables us to formulize the scope of any project with any grade of complicity in any business.
But the problem is different. Before being used in any calculations or chart set-up, WBS hierarchical structure has to be collapsed into a one-dimensional list.
As the consequence of long-size vectors, which decomposes WBS hierarchical tree, Gantt, PERT and others charts occupy so much space on paper or computer displays.
The basic principle of Three-Dimensional Time Scheduling is to cut of this bottleneck. Thus we can offer to use for project scope modeling the DABS concept, based on PMBOK’s deliverables and activities instead of traditional WBS, based on work concept.
As a consequence of the addition of the third variable - time to DABS, we’ll obtain three-dimensional math model and three-dimensional charts. In the next posts, I’ll try to convince you that the PM in three-dimensional space and abandoning the old charts in favor of 3D virtual models and modern GUI, can put computer-aided project management to the next higher level.
Originally posted 13th May 2011 by Oleksandr Tugayev.