tl;dr – There should be a hierarchical view with a ‘tree’ of dependencies from one task to another, allowing us to selectively drill down into a complex dependency tree or to view only higher-level items. It could also support drill-down into subitems.
aka. ‘Product Breakdown Chart’ or ‘Work Breakdown Structure’
I am managing a cross-department project with 10+ streams (i.e. Groups in Monday), dozens of high-level tasks and hundreds of sub-tasks (i.e. sub-items). I need to discuss different aspects of the project with different stakeholders and explain interdependencies to them.
Pain Points & How a Tree View Helps
The full task list is great for viewing per-stream, and the Gantt chart is good for viewing work that has been scheduled but:
- Not all work is scheduled, nor will it ever be – there is often no point scheduling at the lowest level of detail, it’s more effort than it’s worth (and will likely be wrong in any case).
- Cross-stream dependencies between tasks cannot easily be viewed in the grouped task list, and may not show up clearly in the Gantt either because they are not scheduled or because they are not close together in time or in the list.
- The Gantt view, because it has a timeline, ends up being too complex when viewing the maximum level of detail.
A simpler hierarchical tree view, which doesn’t include any timing information would work much better for this:
- It can be visually much more dense.
- Specific tasks can have their dependencies displayed, or not, depending on what is relevant for a given discussion.
Note: what I am describing here is sometimes called a ‘Product Breakdown Chart’ or a ‘Work Breakdown Structure’, and is a standard element of project management frameworks such as PRINCE2. It’s a vital method for simplifying very complex projects. Monday.com even have a blog post about this!
Impact and Workarounds
We’re currently (mis)using the Gantt chart feature in Coda.io to show a dependency tree. So we basically have an additional date field which is ignored and is just there to position boxes on the ‘breakdown’ chart. This is uneccesarily fiddly, and if we have to do the same in Monday.com then it reduces the attraction of switching. Also, the Gantt chart in Monday.com is probably a better Gantt chart than the one in Coda.io but might be less suitable for mis-using in this way!
How It Should Work & Notes
- In some ways this is a bit like an Org Chart view (which you already have for Enterprise, but a single view is not enough of a reason to upgrade, and you don’t allow a trial of the feature within an existing account, so I can’t actually tell if it’s suitable for this rather different use-case).
- If necessary for the UI, the dependency column used for this view could be a ‘strict’ hierarchy like an Org Chart i.e. nothing can have more than one ‘parent’. Obviously it would be better if multiple parent items are allowed though, so it can align with a Gantt chart.
- You have a blog post about Work Breakdown Structure, so you clearly see the value, and also show something a bit similar in your blog post on Gantt charts: a network diagram of the critical path. This is a good indication of how important this view is, even your blog-writer can tell that a Gantt alone is not clear enough