Mapping Dependencies w/ GraphXR & Airtable

Project management (PM) is a strategy essential for teams big and small. It navigates tasks across time so as to streamline the completion of projects, often looking at tasks and dependencies sewn across multiple tables and even, sometimes, across multiple databases. The struggle for PMs is to find the most efficient strategy to move a project forward. It often involves asking questions like “what is the critical path?” or “what is holding this up?”

Often it’s a dependency - a relationship between the preceding task to the succeeding task or - in other words - the thing that needs to get done prior to the subsequent task.

That’s why project managers so famously use Gantt charts. A Gantt chart is a bar chart that provides a visual view of project tasks scheduled over time along with its dependencies. With a synthesized dataset to emulate some projects in progress, I quickly channeled a Gantt view on Airtable below.:point_down:

I suggest taking a look at Airtable’s Gantt with their free trial of Airtable Pro. It’s built with a wonderful UI, with ready-to-go examples to hit the ground running. It’s truly a tour de force when it comes to database-powered spreadsheets!

However, while Gantt is great for smaller projects, it doesn’t fare well once the tasks expand past a page (like above) or when a given project is more complex than expected. In my case, the sythesized dataset had too many different projects to look at, to the point where I had to scroll down the page. That’s when I chose to tackle another view using GraphXR so as to see all the dependencies at once.

While we’re all swimming in a seemingly more complex and data-driven world, it’s important to have a high-level understanding of what’s going on. That often requires both the ability to merge disparate datasets and to configure them into different views. Here’s just an example of how database-powered spreadsheets (Airtable) and browser-based data visualization (GraphXR) can work together to, perhaps, make a PM’s life easier. It’s also a way to look at dependencies differently so that anyone handling a complex project can configure and link the data intuitively through one view. However, that type of analysis belongs to all the expert PMs out there who know it best.

As always, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below and stay tuned for a how-to blog for creating views across Airtable and GraphXR.

You can also contact Kineviz if you have any questions or care for more info on this topic.

Stay graphy, my friends!

Alex Law
Kineviz I Communications Coordinator
alex@kineviz.com :woman_artist: