product design

You can't make a plan if you can't see what's going on.


For a group of directors at Apple, every week was a firehose of information. They were receiving too many project reports in too many different formats that made roadmapping a nightmare.


Design an app that brought all that information together in one easy-to-read format -- without disrupting the existing data-reporting processes.

A plan for the planning app

Interviews with directors, program managers, and project managers pointed me toward a three-pronged solution: a custom Gantt chart, an executive roadmap, and a CMS interface to manage it all.

Gantt symbology

Gantt charts traditionally use lines and rectangles to show their project timelines. For this project at Apple, they need a custom, multi-dimensional design. They wanted each Gantt chart to show:
  • project length
  • start/end dates
  • are the dates firm or just estimates?
  • has the project plan changed?

The bird's eye roadmap

Executive roadmaps show the most important projects coming in the next year or two. The difference with this roadmap for Apple was that they wanted to see those upcoming projects in context. They wanted to know, at a glance, which Priority, Program, Workstream, and Track they belonged to.

Manage the app

Project managers and program managers needed a way to manage the information that goes into making the roadmaps and Gantt charts.