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Understanding dependencies in project management

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A project dependency is a task that relies on the completion of a different task. This article breaks down key terms associated with dependencies and the different kinds of dependencies you may see in project management.

Much like a relay race, projects are often completed by passing tasks from one team member to the next. Unlike a relay race, some project tasks require other tasks to move forward before they can be started. This relationship between tasks is known as a dependency. 

As a project manager, understanding how dependencies work can help you define a clear and consistent plan before initiating the project itself. Here's what you need to know.

What is a dependency in project management?

In general, a dependency is something that relies on something else. 

General examples of a dependency :

Babies are dependent on caregivers

Plants are dependent on sunlight

Fish are dependent on water

As it relates to project management, a dependency is a task that relies on the completion of a different task. 

Examples of dependencies in project management:

A company's PR statement is dependent on the CEO’s approval of the messaging

A bug fix is dependent on the identification of its root cause

As a project manager , it's important to keep tabs on all of your project dependencies so stakeholders are aware of when they need to begin their part of the project.

Key terms to know regarding dependencies

Before we discuss different types of dependencies, here are some key terms to understand.

Project constraints

A project constraint is a restriction that the project manager must adhere to as the project progresses. The most common project constraints are:

Cost : How much money you can spend to complete the project.

Time : How long it takes you to complete a project.

Scope : How much of the team's resources you can use.

Critical path

In project management, the critical path is the chain of activities that result in a fully completed project. If any of the critical tasks or activities are delayed, this affects the timeline of the entire project. 

A blocker is anything that can prevent the completion of a project activity. Blockers can be internal issues, such as a team member being out for a week, or external, such as an outside vendor not fulfilling a purchase order on time.

Types of dependencies in project management

While the concept of dependences is simple, they can come in many variations. 

Logical dependencies

Also known as a causal dependency, these dependencies are parts of a project that are necessary for a project's completion. They're often the goal output for all of the preceding tasks and cannot run parallel with other tasks. 

For example, you cannot delegate a task to someone else if you don’t have another person on your team. In this case, hiring another team member is considered a logical dependency.

Resource dependencies

Resource dependencies are project restraints as it relates to a limited amount of resources that you have for your project. If there are additional resources available for the project, this dependency would not be an issue. 

For example, the progress of Project B is dependent on a single designer finishing Project A so that they have the bandwidth to complete Project B without getting overworked.

Preferential dependencies

Preferential dependencies are created by team-imposed processes, but are not necessarily required for a project to be completed. 

For example, an editor may require one final review before sending an article to publish. While this is a step that's created by the team to ensure there are no mistakes, this step isn't necessarily needed for the project to be completed.

​​External dependencies

External dependencies are tasks that are dependent on outside factors that you or your team have no control over. Internal dependencies are more common, as they rely on things that your team can control.

A good example of an external dependency is when a weather phenomenon prevents a shipment of fresh fruit from arriving at a restaurant. A chef could have had a menu that required oranges, but due to a surprise frost, they're unable to create the dishes necessary. The chef was externally dependent on the orange vendor for creating specific dishes. 

Types of task dependencies in project management

Some dependencies are specific to the two tasks involved. Here are the most common types of task dependencies:

Finish to Start (FtS) : This is the most common task dependency. Task B cannot start until Task A is complete. This functionality is common in the Waterfall project management methodology.

Finish to Finish (FtF) : Task B cannot finish until Task A is also completed. This is common with tasks that have subtasks within them; if the subtasks are not completed, you cannot complete the parent task. 

Start to Start (StS) : Task B cannot start before Task A starts. These are for tasks that are required to run in parallel with each other. A good example of this is a timed e-commerce launch. A social media marketer may want to post an announcement for a sale going live, right as a web developer pushes the correct web page to go live. The social media marketer does not start until the web developer starts to ensure that the announcement goes out at the same time.

Start to Finish (StF) : Task B must start for Task A to be completed. This is important for situations that require overlap. An example of this would be coverage on a support line. A representative cannot leave until a different representative comes to relieve them of their duties so that there is always someone available to provide customer support.

Tips for dependency management

Dependency management can seem overwhelming at first glance, but learning how to navigate it can set your projects up for success. Here are four tips to help you organize task dependencies.

1. Organize tasks using project management software

Finding the right project management tool that works for your team can change the game in terms of internal dependencies. Using a task management tool that can house your project plan , project activity, and clearly identify dependent tasks can help your team stick to the project schedule . 

2. Visualize dependencies clearly

Visualizing dependencies is an easy way to better understand what tasks need to be completed and in what order. Using visual tools like a Gantt chart or a Kanban board can clearly show your team members what stage your project is currently in and which tasks are dependent. 

3. Monitor potential risks in a project plan

When you're establishing a project plan, brainstorm all potential internal dependencies that you may encounter during your project. Do any of your team members have a heavier workload than normal? Are you working with any external vendors to complete this project? In the event that one part gets delayed, is the project team prepared for a shift in the schedule?

Realistically, you cannot monitor every single potential risk that might come up during your project, but you can monitor dependencies to ensure that deliverables are still completed on time. 

4. Encourage stakeholder engagement

There's no such thing as over-communication when it comes to task dependencies. If one project stakeholder knows that a task is delayed, encourage them to communicate with the entire team so individuals can adjust their timelines accordingly.

Keep your task dependencies on track

Want to learn more about how you can better keep track of project dependencies? Learn more with Asana project management resources .

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What Are Task Dependencies in Project Management?


Projects are made up of many tasks which are mapped out on a project schedule so they can be executed in a timely and organized manner. One of the most important steps when creating a project schedule is to identify task dependencies, as they’re critical for time and task management.

Task dependencies are the interrelations that exist between project activities. These task dependencies determine the order in which project tasks must be executed. For example, some tasks need to be executed in sequence, meaning one task must be completed before the next can begin.

However, that’s just one of the four types of task dependencies that you could come across as a project manager. You might even need to manage all types of task dependencies in just one project, so you must be ready.

To identify and manage task dependencies, you need robust project planning, scheduling and tracking tools. ProjectManager is equipped with online Gantt charts, kanban boards and task lists that let you set task dependencies, manage recurring tasks, identify the critical path and much more. Get started for free today.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart is the perfect tool to manage task dependencies

Let’s review each of the four task dependency types to understand how they affect project scheduling and task management.

4 Types of Task Dependencies

These are the four types of task dependencies you might encounter when scheduling your projects.

Task Management Templates

Task management can be overwhelming for some project managers. That’s why we’ve created these free task management templates to facilitate task tracking and scheduling.

Task Tracker Template

A very important part of managing tasks is the ability to track their progress. Our project task tracking template is a great place to list all your project activities as well as their dependent tasks, assignee and due dates.

To-Do List Template

To-do lists are a must-have task management tool due to their simplicity and effectiveness. Our free to-do list template is ideal for managing personal task lists.

Project Timeline Template

Our free project timeline template allows you to quickly organize your project tasks on a timeline that shows tasks, their duration and due dates.

Project management templates can be a great alternative for beginner project managers. However, templates are static documents that can’t be compared to robust project management software such as ProjectManager. ProjectManager offers the best planning, scheduling and tracking tools to manage your projects.

Task Dependencies Explained in 5 Minutes

In this PM training video, Devin Deen, project management expert and trainer, explains basic concepts of task dependency mapping and discusses how to calculate task and activity length and duration to create better project schedules.

In Review: How to Estimate Tasks and Dependencies

As Devin said, estimating time on a project is a bit of a guessing game. He noted three different things that were important to remember when you approach this project management art.

That said, Devin walked through a number of ways to do the best you can to estimate how long a task may take on your project. Even if you can’t be certain as to its duration, it’s your job to calculate all the variables to the best of your ability and have a window in which you’re pretty sure that work will be completed. Use task management software to make it easy to check in on your team and make sure they are coming close to their estimates.

Pro tip : When working on an activity estimation, remember that your team may not be great at estimating the time that their tasks will take. People, as noted, will use the time allotted rather than the time a piece of work takes. That’s why it’s crucial that you factor this in and give your deadlines some breathing room or else be stuck with an unfinished task.

Thanks for watching!

ProjectManager Tracks Task Dependencies

Being able to identify task dependencies in your project plan helps to avoid costly delays. ProjectManager has interactive Gantt charts that link task dependencies so you always know when tasks must be finished or started. You can even note which of the four types of dependencies it is. Gantt charts can be edited easily by dragging and dropping the dates to their new location and then shared with the team to keep everyone in the loop.

Multiple Task Management Views

There are many different types of tasks such as recurring tasks that can be set up in our tool. You can even create recurring tasks directly within projects to save wasted time. But teams aren’t going to use Gantt charts to execute their tasks, which is why we have multiple project views. They can use our robust list view or the visual workflow of the kanban board to manage their backlog and collaboratively plan sprints.

ProjectManager's kanban board to keep track of task dependencies

Track Progress with Project Dashboards

Linking task dependencies will help avoid delays, but if you want to keep your project on schedule you must have tools to monitor your progress and performance. That way, if things become derailed, you can reallocate resources to get back on track. Our project dashboards require no setup like with lightweight tools and automatically collect live data that’s displayed in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Get a high-level view of your project in real time at any time.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-time

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that links task dependencies for a smoother running project. We help you plan, schedule and track your projects so you can deliver success. Join the teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestle who use our software. Get started with ProjectManager today for free .

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How to Identify and Manage Dependencies in Project Management

By Kate Eby | July 20, 2022

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Project dependencies are relationships between tasks that determine the sequence of work in a project. With help from experts, we’ll show you how to identify and manage dependencies in your own work.

In this article, you’ll find different types of project dependencies , a downloadable project dependency template starter kit, and expert opinions on the benefits and challenges of managing them.

What Are Project Dependencies?

Project dependencies , also called task dependencies , are relationships between tasks based on their sequence. Dependent tasks require one or more other tasks to be completed or started before the team can start work on them.

Think of project dependencies as a series of gears that can’t begin turning without all the others ahead of it. Creating and using dependencies ensures that you can complete workflows accurately every time.

The Importance of Project Dependencies

Project dependencies are a key part of project planning. Having a clear sequence of tasks helps ensure that teams complete work correctly and efficiently. Stay organized, avoid delays, and manage complex projects by identifying dependencies.

Trevor Larson

Trevor Larson, CEO and Co-Founder of Nectar , explains why you should manage and account for project dependencies: “Dependencies can impact the timeline or budget of your project. If you depend on an external tool or service, any changes or delays caused by an outdated version can add to your time and costs. In some cases, not managing your dependencies can even create security risks. If you're using an old software version of a library with known vulnerabilities and aren’t following a regular update schedule before starting on new projects, your project could be at risk.”

Types of Project Dependencies

There are four main types of project or task dependencies. Each outlines when a task can start or finish based on the status of another task. Some tasks might be dependent on more than one previous task.

Molly Beran

“It's really important to know your dependencies so that you can plan your project in the most logical and efficient way. For instance, if you were building a house, you would pour the foundation before you put in the plumbing, and you would finish the plumbing before you close up the walls. If you do any of these out of order, you're not going to be able to build your house. The same is true for every project. There are always things that need to be done before others can be successfully completed, and managing them is a critical part of bringing your project through to successful completion,” explains Molly Beran, President and Founder of Projects By Molly .

It is also important to remember that multiple tasks might share one or more dependencies. As in Beran’s example, both wiring and insulation would be installed before closing up the walls, which is also around the same time the plumbing would be set up.

Keeping in mind this potential for more complex systems, we’ve outlined the basics of the four types of project dependencies below:

Key Dependencies in Project Management

There are five key dependencies in project management. The four internal dependencies are based on logic, resources, preferences and best practices, and cross-team dependencies. In addition, some dependencies come from external sources. 

These are the key dependencies in project management:

In addition to these key project dependencies, it is important to understand the idea of blockers. A blocker is any event or circumstance that can hinder the completion of a project task, such as team member absences or shipping delays. Note that most tasks have some combination of both internal and external dependencies of varying impact.

Internal Dependencies in Project Management

Internal dependencies in project management include logical, resource-based, preferential, and cross-team dependencies. We’ve listed more subcategories below and provided examples of each.

These are some common internal dependencies:

External Dependencies in Project Management

External dependencies are outside of a business’s control. They can be the most difficult to predict and manage. These include factors such as deliveries, weather events, finances, and traffic changes.

These are some common external dependencies:

Dependencies in Project Plans

Many project managers highlight dependencies during project planning. Dependencies can affect project budgets, schedules, resources, and risks. It is important to account for them early in the planning process.

Part of project planning is to create a network diagram and identify the critical path to project completion. By breaking down your project into its core components and identifying the ways in which they relate to one another, it is easier to see which tasks are dependent on information or deliverables from previous steps or projects. Highlighting these task dependencies helps to ensure that your project schedules, budgets, and resource requirements are as accurate as possible.

Also important to project planning are project constraints , or the limits within which your project must operate. Project dependencies might rely on certain constraints, particularly resource availability. If a project is constrained to a single software engineer, it will take longer than if an entire engineering team  was available.

Project Dependency Examples

Project dependencies come in many forms. There are different kinds of dependencies for different industries and project sizes. We’ve gathered some common examples that project managers might encounter in their own work.

Here are some visual examples of project dependencies:

Project Dependency Examples by Type and Industry

Along with visual maps, we’ve created a table of basic examples for each type of dependency that you might find in a construction, IT, or marketing project. The chart makes it easy to see how task dependencies between industries can vary, but also how they can look similar to one another.

How to Identify Project Dependencies

In order to identify project dependencies, you must first create a map of project tasks. Next, look for tasks that the team cannot perform until they receive information or deliverables from a previous task. Those tasks are dependent.

Think of your whole project as a series of workflows or a flowchart. Map out the major steps needed to complete the project. Next, map out each step required to move between those steps. Make note of events that must occur before you can move on to the next task. These are your dependencies. 

Cornelius Fichtner

Generally, dependencies become obvious when looking at the project as a whole. Sometimes this isn’t the case. Cornelius Fichtner, President of OSP International LLC , suggests visualizing dependencies to better understand them. “I mostly use Kanban boards or Gantt charts to show team members what stage the project is on and which tasks are dependent,” he says.

Lee Dobson

Lee Dobson, Head of Client Services at Bulldog Digital Media , suggests another approach. “There are a number of ways to identify project dependencies. One way is to use your project schedule and identify which tasks are dependent on other tasks being completed first. Another method is to look at the project resources and identify which resources are constrained and how that affects the next steps. Additionally, you can look at the project risks and identify where they might have an impact on your project schedule or resource dependencies,” he explains.

How to Manage Project Dependencies

The best way to manage project dependencies is to learn how to identify them. Staying organized and having strong communication with your team will help as well. We’ve outlined these and other best practices for managing project dependencies below.

Here are some best practices for managing project dependencies:

Project Dependency Management Tools

Project managers use various tools to track and manage project dependencies. Choose the tool that fits your organizational style and the needs of your team. Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendars, and project management software are all useful.

For more project management tools and templates to help you plan projects and manage dependencies, check out this collection of free Excel project management templates .

Project Dependencies Template Starter Kit

Project Dependencies Template Starter Kit

Download Project Dependencies Starter Kit

We’ve created this starter kit to help you start working with project dependencies. We’ve included everything you need to identify and manage dependencies in your next project, including a Gantt chart template created especially for tracking project dependencies. All of these templates are completely customizable to suit your business needs. Download each template individually or as a set in the complete kit.

Included in this kit, you’ll find:

For more help identifying and managing project dependencies, check out our collections of work breakdown structure templates and Gantt chart templates with dependencies .

Project Dependency Questions

You might wonder how to get started managing project dependencies. There are some questions you can ask to help identify dependencies and make a plan to manage them.

Ask yourself the following questions to help you create a project dependencies management plan:

Benefits of Project Dependency

There are many benefits of identifying and tracking project dependencies. These include better adherence to project plans, improved risk management, and better management of lead and lag time. Learn how project dependencies can benefit you and your team.

These are some of the biggest benefits of project dependency:

Challenges of Project Dependency

Tracking and managing project dependencies can be difficult. Common challenges include accurately identifying them or finding complicated or conflicting dependencies. We’ve asked experts to share some of the biggest project dependency challenges. 

These are some challenges of tracking project dependencies:

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When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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Understanding Task Dependencies in Project Management

Dependencies are the relationships among tasks which determine the order in which activities need to be performed. There are four (4) types of dependency relationships.

Types of dependencies

Dependencies are the relationships of the preceding tasks to the succeeding tasks. Tasks may have multiple preceding tasks and multiple succeeding tasks. The most common dependency relationship is a finish-to-start relationship. Task P (predecessor) must be finished before task S (successor) can start. The least common relationship is the start-to-finish relationship. Project Insight, project management software , supports all four dependency relationships.

Product Development Activity List

The chart above shows how a Product Development Activity List may look after the project team determines the task relationships. In our example, only finish-to-start relationships were used.

It is always easier to arrange all tasks in terms of a finish-to-start relationship and an 'as soon as possible' constraint. This dependency type is the easiest relationship for others to understand and will usually result in a longer than normal schedule. This gives the schedule more 'slack.' You may then utilize the other relationships as ways to shrink the duration of the overall schedule. If you use finish-to-start and as soon as possible, you will be able to change the schedule in Project Insight, project management software , with just a couple of mouse clicks.

| Next >> Project resource allocation and resource management

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Task Dependencies in Project Management: Best Practices

project management with task dependencies

According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) , all tasks should have a  dependency. That’s because, in project management, all tasks are related. And by not indicating task order and relationships, you can inadvertently put your project schedule in harm’s way.

How so? Well, unclear directives, a lack of focus, and an unrealistic schedule are all main drivers of project failure . Since dependencies not only help dictate workflow, but also priorities and timeline, it’s often in everyone’s best interest to include them after the work breakdown structure is complete.

Here we’ll give you a crash course in task dependencies. Defining all the terms and outlining all the benefits. We’ll also give you step by step instructions for adding dependencies to your project’s Gantt chart in Ganttic. By the end you’ll see why your projects really do depend on dependencies.

What are Task Dependencies?

Dependencies are relationships between tasks. And their role is to highlight the order in which tasks need to be completed before moving on to the next job or project phase. For example, let’s say you have 2 tasks – Task A and Task B. If Task B requires the completion of Task A, then Task B is dependent on Task A.

All this may sound simple, but in complex projects with several interdependent tasks, things may get messy. Which is why setting a clear workflow via task dependencies is so important for keeping projects on track.

Dependencies with Project Management Tools

Project management software has you covered when you want to use dependencies. Especially when it comes to visual planning tools like a Gantt chart. That’s because they make it super easy to spot which tasks are dependent on which. Usually this is represented by an arrow going in the direction that the tasks should occur and linking everything together.

Task dependencies on the Gantt chart in Ganttic

If you are using spreadsheets, many do not support dependency graphs and a workaround must be used. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just a bit of extra work. There’s plenty of tutorials to add the right dependency formula to your project spreadsheet , as well as templates.

Key Terms: Predecessor and Successor

Before you can begin establishing dependencies, it’s important to define which tasks are dependent on which, and which need to happen first. This means identifying the predecessors and successors.

Predecessor   – A task, whose start and end dates control the start and end times of subsequent tasks. Successor – The subsequent task, the start and end dates are controlled by the predecessor.

With all this in mind, there are 4 ways that these predecessor and successor tasks can relate to one another.

Finish to Start (FS) – Predecessor ends before the successor can start. Start to Start (SS) –  Predecessor starts before the successor can start. Finish to Finish (FF) – Predecessor ends before the successor can end. Start to Finish (SF) – Predecessor starts before the successor can end.

The most common relationship between tasks is the Finish to Start relationship – meaning Task B cannot start until Task A is complete. This is pretty logical if you think about it, since a wall cannot be painted until it’s built, and a product cannot be shipped until it’s packaged.

Types of Dependencies

There are 4 common types of task dependencies you may come across.

Mandatory vs. Discretionary Dependencies

Mandatory dependencies are sometimes known as hard logic dependencies. These are legally or contractually required within the project’s statement of work. The flip side of this is known as discretionary or soft logic dependencies. These relationships are not set in stone, and instead are implemented due to team preferences, best practices, or conventions.


Mandatory Dependencies – A contractor can only be booked far in advance for a specific date, so all preceding work must be completed beforehand.

Discretionary Dependencies – A bonus is given to early completion, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to do this first.

Tip:  In Ganttic you can add a  note to tasks  specifying whether the dependencies are mandatory or discretionary.

Internal vs. External Dependencies

Dependencies can occur within the same project or amongst different projects in the portfolio. These are known as internal and external dependencies. Internal dependencies occur within the same project. While external dependencies are between two tasks within different projects.

Internal dependencies – For a project “building a new website,” a web dev team must first generate the wireframes before work can begin on the design.

External dependencies – For the same project, the web dev team must wait for images from an outsourced graphics design firm before proceeding with their next step.

Tip:  In Ganttic you can create both internal and external dependencies. Easily spot external dependencies via different  taskbar coloring options  for swift management.

Similar to cross-project dependencies, you can have cross-resource dependencies. Because much like a relay, the different tasks in a project may be handed off to different people at different points. Ganttic supports all these kind of dependency types.

Leads and Lags

Leads and lags are an important part of project management with task dependencies.

Sometimes there’s a time gap between tasks. This gap goes by 2 names – lead and lag time, depending on when the gap occurs.

Lag time – Generally thought of as the “delay” between predecessor and successor tasks. This is the amount of time that must pass before the successor can begin.

Example : If your construction project requires pouring concrete on the base, you know you need to wait a week for it to cure, before you can start with the framing phase. That gives a lag time of 7 days.

Lead time –  This can be seen as “overlap” between the two tasks. Converse to a delay, this is how far a predecessor can be advanced in regard to its successor. Lead is only applicable to Finish to Start relationships.

Example: Your voiceover actors need the video footage to be complete before recording. But if some of the clips are ready, the actors can get started earlier.

Why Use Leads and Lags?

It’s often beneficial to schedule this gap when creating dependencies. Doing so can prevent people from jumping the gun and rushing in head-first into costly mistakes. By indicating dependencies as well as their lead and lag times, you can schedule everything right, the first time.

Maybe you know that a certain amount of time needs to pass before proceeding to the next task. For example, If a supervisor needs to sign off on a report, but they aren’t available until next week, you can automatically schedule in the lag time into the overall timeline. All this helps to ensure that your project schedule is as accurate as can be.

But leads and lags also increase efficiency. If your design team is waiting on photographers, maybe they can move ahead with their work when just 3 out of the 10 photos are ready. This can possibly move up the project completion date or other milestones to an earlier time.

Why Use Dependencies in Project Management?

Projects don’t exist in a vacuum, and neither do the components that make up your projects. Task dependencies give projects an optimized workflow. And can provide a sense of order to what at first glance appears to be a mountain of work-related chaos.

Here’s a few more ways task dependencies may prove useful to your project management process.

Creating Dependencies in Ganttic

Make sure dependencies are turned on in the Settings.

Choose the dependencies predecessors and successors.

Fixed Lag – the specified lag (delay) between dependencies will remain the same whether you move the successor or predecessor up or push it back. Minimal Lag – the lag (delay) between tasks cannot be less than the specified time, but there is no cutoff to how much of a delay can be added to the successor task.  Fixed Lead – the lead (overlap) between dependencies will remain the same whether you move the successor or predecessor up or push it back. Maximum Lead – the maximum amount of time a predecessor can be advanced and in which the tasks can overlap. 

NB! All leads and lags are positive numbers.

project management with task dependencies

Read more about setting up dependencies in your Ganttic planner.

Get Started with Dependencies Today

Adding task dependencies to your project workflow can bring focus and clarity for yourself, as project manager, and for your team. Create a clear roadmap for success and get started incorporating task dependencies into your project Gantt charts today.

If you have any questions, you can always book a free demo and we can go through the process together screen-to-screen. And if you want to see any other dependencies included in future updates, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Your project success depends on task dependencies. Get started today!

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project management with task dependencies

Liven Up Project Management with Color

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project management with task dependencies

Unlimited Users and Collaboration: Ganttic’s Guide to Bulk Invite

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project management with task dependencies

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project management with task dependencies

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Dependencies in Project Management – A Complete Guide

Imagine you’re building a house. You need to put the walls up before you can paint them. Painting the walls is dependent on the walls being built.

Projects, just like real life, don’t happen in a vacuum and have their own sets of project dependencies and constraints irrespective of the industry. Finding an isolated project activity or task is nearly impossible as projects are inherently interconnected.

Many managers consider identifying and handling dependencies in   project management   as one of the most important and consequential tasks.

What are project dependencies?

Dependencies in project management deal with managing and scheduling project tasks while keeping their sequences and requirements in mind. If task B requires the completion of task A, then we’ll say that task B is dependent on task A. This may sound simple right now but in complex projects with several interdependent tasks, things can get messy.

The following are some of the important terms related to the dependencies in project management.


constraints in project management

In project management, dependencies and constraints go hand in hand.   Project constraints   are the restrictions or boundaries within which the manager must stay while completing the project. The three major constraints of any project are

Sometimes, dependencies in projects happen due to certain constraints in the project. For example, if your team can only afford a single software developer, then the tasks where you need a developer will be dependent on each other.

Lead and Lag

lead and lag

Lead   is a unique concept that is only applicable to ‘finish to start’ relationships, more on that later. It refers to the time by which the succeeding tasks get accelerated with reference to the preceding tasks. While the FtS relationship demands that the succeeding tasks can not start before the end of preceding tasks,   project managers   apply lead times to reduce the overall time of the project.

Lag   is not restricted by the type of relationship. It refers to the time delay between tasks when no resources are in use. While undesirable, lag time is sometimes necessary to ensure the completion of the project. When you paint a room, the extra time required to let it dry before you start hanging your pictures is the lag time.

Critical Path

critical path example

The chain of continuous activities that lead to the   completion of a project   is the project’s critical path. If any tasks in the critical path get delayed, the entire project will be delayed by the same time unless another critical task is completed ahead of time to make up for it.

Types of dependencies in project management

Dependencies can be of different types as internal and external factors can affect them. The following are some of the major categories of project dependencies.

types of project management dependencies

1. Logical dependencies

Also known as causal dependencies. These dependencies are an inherent part of the project and cannot be avoided. Tasks characterized as logical dependency usually use the output of the preceding tasks as input so you can’t run them in parallel.

Consider baking a cake as your project. You can’t start the process unless you have all the ingredients you need.

2. Resource dependencies

This dependency originates from a project constraint as it deals with the availability of shared resources. If two tasks require the same resource for completion, then they’ll be dependent on the completion of the other.

3. Preferential dependencies

These dependencies generally depend on the team members,  other stakeholders, and industrial practices. Preferential dependencies arise when tasks are scheduled to follow developed standard practices.

In most cases, the project can compete even if you ignore the preferential dependencies in your tasks, but there will be some quality issues.

4. External dependencies

No matter how much you plan, there are things bound to be out of your control. Some tasks are dependent on outside factors and project managers can’t do anything to influence their   project progress . To deal with these dependencies, it’s recommended to have a backup plan.

Delays from the suppliers or other unforeseen circumstances may take place which can affect your progress. A good project manager always makes some contingency plans so everything keeps running smoothly even in the face of adversity.

5. Cross-team dependencies

This is a common occurrence in large organizations. Sometimes multiple teams work on a single, complex project and they rely on each other to complete the project on time. Effective   project time management   can be implemented to avoid long hours.


Want to learn project management but put off by jargon?

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Understanding task dependencies in a project

Understanding and identifying the relationship between dependencies in   task management   is an important part of a project manager’s job description.   The following are the relationships of four types of task dependencies in project management.

task dependency relationship

How to manage dependencies in project management

Similar to many other   challenges in project management , there is no textbook way of dealing with dependencies. How you’ll deal with them depends on the requirements and the conditions of the project at hand.

However, there are some common things that all managers do to successfully deal with dependencies in their projects.

Identify and visualize

It’s important to identify and record all the dependencies during the   project plan . Otherwise, you’ll risk making things complicated because, without proper task management, the chances of your project succeeding become slim.

Visualizing data can help you recognize dependencies. This is where tools like Gantt charts come in handy.   Kanban boards   also work great but you’ll have to configure them with labels.

Check out the top 5  Gantt chart alternatives  to visualize projects in 2021.

Engage with stakeholders

Managers need to take   project stakeholders   on board so that everyone involved stays on the same page. You have to ensure that the stakeholders understand the major dependencies and how each of them will affect the project.

Make a risk log

Understanding project dependencies are great for risk mitigation. Once you have identified all dependencies, it’s time for you to know how they’ll affect your project if something goes wrong. Most projects are usually vulnerable to external dependencies that you have no control over.

Many constraints also have certain risks associated with them so you’ll have to be prepared for them as well. Once you have identified and listed down all lists, it’s time to reduce their impact on your project.

Make contingency plans

Just knowing the dependencies and the risks is not enough. You have to ensure that even if anything goes wrong, the project remains on track and completes successfully. Proper   project risk management   allows you to save valuable time and enter ‘damage control’ mode as soon as things start to go south.

Creating buffers to minimize the effect of dependencies is also a great mitigation strategy to ensure   project time tracking   and the successful completion of your project on time.

Stay on top of things with Kissflow Project

Whether you are a trained project manager or have project management thrust upon you, you’ll need to rely on technology to complete the job. Kissflow Project makes project management simple and intuitive for everyone. The cloud-based   project management software   comes with integrated features like task management and real-time tracking to help you deal with all challenges a project manager might face.

It doesn’t matter if you are on-site or are working from your home in isolation, you’ll always be on top of things with Kissflow Project live access and cross-platform availability. Sign up for   Kissflow Project   and start using it for free.

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Project Management

Project management dependencies guide (with real examples and tips from experts).

Evan Gerdisch

Content Strategist

May 17, 2022

So what are dependencies in project management ?

For starters, they’re inevitable.

Kind of like how you depend on your accountant for finances. 

Or your boss for approvals. 

To put it simply, project management is impossible without dependencies.

In this article, we’ll discuss what dependencies are, show you different types and real-life examples of dependencies, and how to manage them easily.

What Are Dependencies in Project Management?

Types of dependencies and examples faced by project managers, more expert tips to streamline and optimize your dependencies, how to manage dependencies in project management, depend on clickup for dependencies.

If you’re more of a visual learner check out this vlog on dependencies in project management!

Dependencies are any task, occurrence, or condition:

They help project managers understand the relationship between tasks, giving them a clear idea about the order in which they should carry them out.

Do you feel you could understand this better if you had an example?

Luckily, there are tons of project dependencies examples. 

Here’s a simple one:

Let’s say you’re the project manager and have to discuss this month’s targets with your project team in a meeting. 

This depends on you first having the meeting, right? 

And that depends on your meeting preparation. 

Right there is a dependency.

Custom Gantt Chart ClickUp CTA

4 key dependency-related terms

We get that project dependencies can seem a little daunting at first.

But don’t worry, here’s a breakdown of some specific terms related to dependencies in project management:

The most common is the triple constraint (time, cost, and project scope ) but there are other factors such as regulation, environmental issues that make up all the constraints.

For example, a particular task B is supposed to start in five days, when task A completes. However, predecessor task A got deleted, so task B began in seven days. As a result, task B is considered to have a lag of two days (5+2)

For example, task B must start when task A completes, and that’s in eight days. However, if predecessor task A is completed early, and task B begins in just five days, then task B is considered to have a lead of three days (8-5).

You now know what dependencies are… But how many different kinds of dependencies are there? 

Note: This is a detailed look at the different kinds of dependencies you may encounter when managing projects. However, if you want to just skip ahead to learning how to manage your dependencies, click here.

Types of dependencies based on conditions

Here are some of the common major dependencies you may face.

1. Logical dependency

Logical dependencies, also known as causal dependencies, are the ones that occur naturally in a workflow, and you can’t dodge them.

You can’t carry out tasks with logical dependencies simultaneously.

For example, when you’re making a dress, the design comes first, and then you can begin stitching. Or, when you’re making a social media video , the script and storyboard need to be planned before you shoot.

2. Resource dependencies

Resource based dependencies are spotted when two or more tasks need the same resources for completion. There could be only a limited number of these resources . The resource can be a team member, an imported component of a machine, funds, skilled professionals etc.

For example, you need the hard drive that contains this month’s reports. Unfortunately, so does the finance team. So one of you is going to have to wait!

3. Cross-team dependencies

This is when different cross functional team members or departments depend on one another to complete a complex project or project activity.

Laura Moonan , Project Manager at Cleveland Clinic Hospital , encountered this type of dependency when working with physicians and the content team.

“As a project manager for a hospital, our team’s use of workflows and dependencies is critical for accuracy, communication, and consistency. In order for us to create medically accurate articles for consumer-facing content, physicians were needed to edit or approve the content itself. A dependency that we struggled with was who was going to review the content and when?

“Prior to using project management software, I needed a separate department to identify the physician, and then I could send out my email asking for their changes or approval. By implementing ClickUp’s dependencies , my project timeline was more accurate and everyone involved knew which phase the project was in – waiting to review, ready to send out or there was a blocker.”

Read more: Guide to Healthcare Project Management

4. External dependencies

There are always some things that project managers can’t account for in the project plan because they’re out of their control. Those are external dependencies.

Erica Tahan , Digital Marketing Project Manager at WITHIN , works frequently with external dependencies – client communications & requests.

“When you work in agency marketing, client communication is huge – especially when a project is dependent on resource deliverables from the client (ie. creative, branding, etc.). By bringing clients into project management software for communication and accountability, we were able to have fewer meetings, cut back on email communication, and provide a sense of transparency to our points of contact.

“Things like assigning tasks, setting up the right notifications when deadlines are approaching, and automated reporting have been a huge progression in mitigating former dependency issues and have greatly improved relationships between internal teams and client points of contact.”

5. Internal dependencies

An internal dependency is the opposite of an external dependency. The control is in the hands of the project teams without any dependence on external parties.

Companies have many internal dependencies. Christa Reed , Junior Product Manager at Job Searcher describes how her team streamlined dependencies that come with hiring and onboarding new team members.

“One of the biggest dependencies that we have at our company is the logistics behind hiring new employees. For example, we need to work with the IT department in order to get a new employee set up with the proper computer and email access. We also need to order any necessary supplies, like business cards or a company ID badge. In addition, we have to collect and review the new employee’s credentials and make sure that they are up to date before they can start working.

“To overcome this challenge, we’ve implemented several different strategies to streamline our hiring process, such as creating a ‘hiring coordinator’ role at our company. This person is responsible for overseeing the hiring process from start to finish and making sure that everything is on track, working cross-functionally and keeping everyone on the same page.

6. Preferential dependencies

Simply put, preferential dependencies are ones that you prefer t o have.

A preferential dependency isn’t mandatory for completing the project. However, you want it because it improves the quality of the project deliverables.

Let’s take a good example. 

A blogger can edit their work right after completing the writeup. But they may prefer a gap of a few hours before editing to spot more errors. This is a preferential dependency that boosts the blog quality.

But we’re not done!

Some other common dependencies include:

Bonus: Learn how to show dependencies in Excel !

Types of dependencies based on task relationships

Based on this classification, there are four kinds of logical relationships.

1. Finish to start

The simplest and most common logical dependency in the real world is the finish to start dependency (FS). It helps you visualize sequential project tasks.

Here task B (second task) can’t start unless task A (first task) is complete.

For example, if you’re catering at a wedding, you can’t begin food preparation (task B) unless you’ve decided on a menu (task A).

2. Start to finish

This logical relationship isn’t so simple. 

In start to finish (SF) dependencies, you can’t complete the successor task unless the preceding tasks have started.

For example, the catering staff can’t refill the food trays unless the people have started dining.

3. Finish to finish

In finish to finish (FF) kind of dependency in project management, the successor task can’t complete unless the predecessor task is complete too.

For example, you can’t pay the catering staff unless the wedding event is complete.

4. Start to start

And finally, we have the start to start (SS) dependency. Here, the successor task can only begin after the predecessor activity has started. After that, both the tasks can run simultaneously as well.

For example, you can start plating the dessert as soon as the mains have started going out. The waiting team can serve the mains while the kitchen team plates the desserts.

Break down processes into small batches

Debra Hildebrand, Project Management Training and Consulting at Hildebrand Solutions, LLC , recommends modeling dependencies to team members with the Agile penny game .

“This game examines how each individual on a team has different processing times that while, productive may cause inefficiencies that can be avoided by breaking down work into smaller batches and reducing hand-offs. When work activities are done in larger batches, the successor cannot start or finish his or her work until the predecessor hands-off the task, which often creates a bottleneck effect.”

Maintain a healthy line of communication

Kimberly Davis , freelance and contract project manager, involves herself in projects which require consistent client communications.

“One of the dependencies that will inevitably lead to risks are mishandling key stakeholders for your project. Currently, my clients are small business owners in the pest control industry who brought me in to help with their change of management. Since my clients are high-touch, they rely on me to walk them through choosing the right CRM platform to satisfy their needs. At the same time, they are busy individuals whose time needs to be respected and prioritized.

“Since my workflow can’t continue without their approval for implementation, it is my job to make sure that our meetings remain swift and productive for everyone involved. It’s important to maintain strong and healthy relationships with all stakeholders, because their approval is key for your plan’s success.”

Bonus: Project Management Software for Freelancers !

Switch from Waterfall to Agile to remove bottlenecks and dependencies

Mercy Y. Gituro , Business Analyst at KB Logistics , recounts her experience of how the Waterfall methodology created more bottlenecks and dependencies and suggests an alternate method.

“When I worked on a project where we used the traditional waterfall method, we didn’t check with the client or get feedback at every stage. The drawbacks of this began to show when the project was almost at the delivery stage and we realized a requirement had been missed and more changes were needed. Seeing this problem, I approached my manager and asked if we could consider adopting the Agile methodology . My manager’s approval of switching to an Agile mindset saved money for the company as my team received feedback from the stakeholders, before implementing new changes or additions and most importantly before the final delivery.”

Handling dependencies is no joke.

Whether it’s a resource, time, quality, or cost, a project manager must handle everything to ensure that project activities stay on track.

If not, the project will crash.

However, project managers can always make things easier with proper planning and the right project management software . 

So let’s get managing!

1. Identify dependencies and constraints

The first thing to do is understanding task dependencies and constraints that can have an impact on your project.

You’ll have to brainstorm a ton to know where all the dependencies exist. 

So it’s best if you note every project constraint and dependency you identify.

You’ll see some of the tasks:

But what’s the point of just noting these project management dependencies? 

Put them to work with a project management software like ClickUp.

Here, project managers can set three kinds of Task Dependencies :

list of different dependencies in ClickUp

All you have to do is click on the ‘…’ menu to open the action menu for the Task and then add one or more tasks as a dependency type of your choice.

arrow pointing to dropdown menu in task on ClickUp

Alternatively, you can create a dependency relationship between tasks using ClickUp’s Relationships .

Additionally, it might just make managing project dependencies easier if you can create a timeline of your project’s tasks.

Well, you can always hit the old marker board to create your network diagram. Or use complex software repository tools like Python to create a dependency graph.

Or… you could ClickUp’s Timeline or Gantt view to identify Dependencies.

You can easily create and visualize your Tasks here. Simply add the start date, Due Date , and other details for each of them, and then start visualizing your timeline!

This way, you can easily identify which tasks are dependent on each other:

Want to learn the difference between the two views? Take a look at our Gantt chart vs. timeline comparison .

2. Add the dependencies to your project charter

The next thing to do is add all the dependencies to your project charter .

If the list of dependencies is short, that’s well and good. 

However, if it’s long, only add the essential dependencies to your project plan.

Use ClickUp’s Docs to draft a project charter and document your dependencies.

The rich text editing possibilities in Docs are endless.

Add headings, banners, numeric lists, fonts, tables, etc.

You can even Template the outline of your draft in Docs to save time when creating charters for future projects.

Unfortunately, creating a good project charter can be a time-consuming process.

Here’s the solution. ClickUp’s Gantt chart is designed to quickly set Dependencies.

You just draw lines between tasks, and it automatically sets the Dependencies.

Want to reschedule?

Enable ‘Reschedule Dependencies,’ then simply drag and drop a task with Dependencies.

Don’t worry about the other chain of tasks. 

They won’t get messed up. Instead, the tasks will automatically reschedule.

Don’t forget to add the Milestones to keep track of your awesome achievements.

And most importantly, to grab a drink and celebrate it with your colleagues after work!

3. Calculate the critical path

Did you identify too many dependencies? 

Then it’s a good time to find the critical path.

Finding the critical path helps you prioritize your tasks and dependencies to ensure your entire project doesn’t fail.

Now, we won’t stop you from going back to that marker board of yours to determine your critical path.

But here’s an idea. 

You can use ClickUp’s Gantt view to calculate the critical path too!

And all you’ll have to do is click a few times.

And boom! There’s your critical path.

4. Share with stakeholders

You must always keep your stakeholders in the loop . 

When they’re aware of the project dependencies and constraints, they have a better understanding of your functioning.

The project charter can communicate these details to your shareholders.

However, if you’re using ClickUp, you don’t have to send your stakeholders any documents.

Just use the Public Sharing option to share your Lists , timelines, Mind Maps, Gantt chart, and more.

You’re probably worried about privacy, right?

Use Advanced Permissions to create Custom Roles and even set specific permission settings for Guests , team members, and admins.

5. Track dependencies

Lastly, as a good project manager, you must constantly track and visualize your dependencies to deliver a successful completion.

To do so, you must track the completed tasks and progress made by different teams. 

So basically hours and hours of emails, meetings, and calls? Nope.

You need a project management tool to track project dependencies easily and accurately.

Remember the different Dependencies ClickUp offers?

Well, tracking them is also super convenient because of the task dependency notifications and warnings.

So if you’re trying to close a task with Dependencies, there won’t be a mess.

The Incomplete Warning will notify you if it’s a dependent task and is unfinished. So the entire project schedule and tasks are undisturbed.

incomplete warning in ClickUp

And you’ll always receive Notifications when:

This way, nothing slips through the cracks!

When it’s time to track these dependencies, just use the Gantt chart, Timeline view, or even the Board view if you enjoy the Kanban approach.

All of these views keep workflow and Task Statuses clear as day, so you don’t have to go around asking for updates.

Look, dependencies are here to stay. 

There’s no project without them.

The good news is dependencies aren’t all bad. 

You just need to manage them the right way for successful project management.

And the easiest way to do that is through ClickUp. 

Forget documents and software like Python Package Index because ClickUp is the only tool you’ll ever need.

From task management and Gantt charts to Time Estimates and dependency management, ClickUp can do it all.

It’s the ultimate package and an expert at handling multiple projects at a time.

So get ClickUp for free and manage expected (and unexpected) dependencies like a pro.

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What are task dependencies in project management? A guide to better project planning

project management with task dependencies

Understanding task dependencies in project management is crucial for projects to run smoothly . The term sounds fancy, but task dependencies (also called project dependencies) simply describe one task in a project that can’t start or finish until another task starts or finishes.

What are task dependencies in project management?

Think about making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can’t slather on your peanut butter until you lay out a slice of bread. The peanut butter task is dependent on the bread task. 

Identifying dependencies in project management sounds easy enough when you’re making a sandwich. But any project manager can tell you that it gets more complicated with projects at scale.

There are four types of task dependencies : 

Project dependencies aren’t always as straightforward as one task wrapping up so that another can begin. 

What are the benefits of finding task dependencies in project management?

When you identify, understand, and manage the task dependencies within your project, you reap the following benefits: 

Understanding your task dependencies helps you and your team efficiently deliver higher-quality projects . 

How to identify task dependencies in your project

This thoughtfulness and efficiency is every project manager’s dream. Especially for big projects, figuring out how every task, no matter how small, connects can feel like a big ol’ knot to untangle. But how do you get there? Use these six steps to identify the task dependencies within your project. 

Step #1: Understand your trigger and deliverable

Figure out your trigger (the starting point for your project) and the deliverable (the endpoint for your project). This step sets up the “bookends” of your task and helps you narrow down every step in the middle. 

Example trigger: The sales team requests a one-sheet from the marketing team.

Example deliverable: A one-sheet the sales team can use to address common sales objections. 

Step #2: Outline all of the required tasks

What does it take to get all the way from your trigger to your deliverable? What are all of the individual steps that need to happen?

No one should answer this alone. Pull your project team together for a conversation. Together you’ll come up with a list of tasks that a single project manager wouldn’t have thought of. 

The goal here is to create one big list of all of the tasks to complete the project. For now, don’t worry about the order. Just brainstorm as a group and get everything down on paper. 

Example tasks (in no particular order):

Step #3: Put the tasks in order

Armed with your big list of tasks, it’s time to map them out into a general flow. What comes first? What comes next? 

This can get a little more complicated with hairy projects that have several tasks happening concurrently. Don’t obsess over being perfect. Just assemble the tasks into a more logical order. Example order: Trigger: Sales team requests a one-sheet

Deliverable: Completed one-sheet

Step #4: Pinpoint your project dependencies

Ordering tasks naturally highlights some dependencies. Obviously, you can’t proofread copy until you draft it, for example. But just because a task is happening before another task doesn’t mean that the subsequent task is dependent .

Look at the first two steps:

You don’t have to meet with the sales team before you schedule and conduct interviews with customers. You could do both of those things at the same time. Or you could finish a few customer interviews before talking with the sales team. One task doesn’t hinge on the other, so it’s not a dependency. 

In contrast, proofreading the copy is dependent on the draft being finished. Without that, there’s nothing to proofread. 

See the difference? Move through your steps to call out your dependencies, and keep an eye out for the tasks that rely on a preceding task.

Example dependencies: 

Step #5: Note and connect your dependencies to see them clearly

There isn’t one right way to note your dependencies. What’s most important is to find a system that makes sense for you and your project team. How you note your dependencies depends on the complexity of your project and what you use to create your project plan. 

If you’re using a Gantt chart , a visualization of tasks with the time to get them done, dependencies are indicated with an arrow that connects two tasks. If you’re mapping tasks on a whiteboard, use a highlighter or a symbol (like an asterisk) to help you see dependent tasks. Or if you’re using a digital whiteboard like Miro for your projects already, you can connect dependent tasks with the Miro Powe-Up app integration to help you and the team clearly see which tasks depend on what.

If you’re using a project management tool like Trello , create cards for each task, then store the task dependencies as items in a checklist on the card. Then it’s easy to link those checklist items to the cards they depend on. Even simpler? There’s the Card Dependencies by Screenful Power-Up app integration that lets you select dependencies from a dropdown.

screenshot of task dependencies in project management in Miro

Example of task dependency notations created with the Miro Power-Up for Trello

Step #6: Create a project plan

Once you understand how all of your tasks relate to one another, set your team and your project up for success with an accurate and helpful project plan to:

Get a better understanding of project dependencies

You know where your project begins and ends. But great project management means understanding if and how every task connects.

Gain the confidence that you’ve created a realistic and helpful plan for your team. After all, task dependencies and project planning go together like…well, peanut butter and jelly. 

Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter ( @trello )!

Here are some related articles you may find interesting:

How to write a project proposal that’s persuasive and precise.

Learn the parts of a project proposal, tips and tools to organize research and ideas, and how to write a persuasive project proposal for any project.

How to set milestones so even big-deal projects feel manageable

Learn what project milestones are and how to set them. Plus, see some project milestone examples to inspire your own planning.

How to manage multiple projects: Tips and tricks for juggling like a pro

Multiple projects don't have to mean mayhem. Learn tips and tricks for successfully managing multiple projects with less stress, chaos, and confusion.

How to use Trello for Scrum (and better teamwork)

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A Comprehensive Guide on Task Dependencies in Project Management

Task Dependencies in Project Management

Task dependencies in project management are similar to a bridge’s pillars. . They hold the project together. And without them, the project workflow collapses.

Picture this. You establish the project tasks along with their assigned resources and due dates. But, you do not assign dependencies. Then what? Should team members randomly go about taking up tasks with no particular sequence in place? Well, that’s making room for impending failure!

So, how do you set the right dependencies such that projects run smoothly?

You do this by analyzing the project structure and setting dependencies such that workflow is established in an optimized manner. You may also incorporate an online task management tool to effectively organize and track the project workflow.

This blog will explore task dependencies, their types, categories, benefits, and more.

What Are Task Dependencies in Project Management?

Task dependencies are designed to specify the sequence of tasks in which they must be performed. They define the relationship between tasks such that the succeeding task can only be started once the preceding task is completed. Thus, no two tasks can be taken up simultaneously or picked up out of order. This helps follow a well-analyzed path of execution which prevents your project from taking an unexpected detour.

You can understand this concept better with simple real-life examples:

So, you see, the concept is fairly simple. One task relies on the other task’s completion for its kick-off.

Task Dependency Types in Project Management

There are four types of task dependencies in project management. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Mandatory

A mandatory dependency is the one that is legally or contractually binding, i.e., it must be carried out without fail. These are also known as hard logic dependencies.

In this, you cannot perform a task unless the previous one is accomplished.

For example, you cannot construct a building unless you have the required approvals from the concerned government corporations.

2. Discretionary

A discretionary dependency is not binding on anything but is the result of preference or best practice. These are also known as preferential or soft logic dependencies.

In this, two activities can be independently performed. However, it is decided that one will be taken up only after the other one is done. So, here, preference, convention, or experience takes precedence and establishes the workflow to be followed.

For example, you paint a house’s inner and outer walls. Both these events have no dependency on each other and can be independently carried out. However, as per discretion, you might decide to complete the inner portion of the house first so that you can start with other things such as deciding the color of the furniture, the curtains, etc. Thus, the said activity is done as per preference and not by following a hard and fast rule.

3. External

An external dependency is the one that depends on an external action to be performed. Here, the internal people have no control over the execution.

For example, an IT team might depend on the HR team to hire more developers. In this, the IT team has no control over the recruitment process. They simply have to wait for the HR team’s response and quick actions to get a developer on board at the earliest.

4. Internal

An internal dependency is one that depends on an internal action for it to be performed, i.e., the internal actions have complete control over choosing the start of a task.

For example, while setting up your house, you might decide to go out for curtain shopping first and then for buying the kitchen items. These two events have absolutely nothing in relation to each other. You decided to carry out the two activities by choice and in no particular order.

Looking at the description and the dependency examples, you must have got a fair idea of the different types of task dependencies in project management. Wondering which types of dependencies are most common in project schedules? Well, there’s no set answer for that. Project managers go for different dependencies based on existing influencing factors.

Now, let’s dive deeper and look into the categorization of task dependencies.

Categorization of Task Dependencies

You can categorize task dependencies based on different factors. These factors help classify the type of dependencies and why they are surfacing.

Task Dependency Based on Resources

A resource-based task dependency refers to tasks that require the same resources for their execution. Let’s understand this with an example. If there is only one paper printing machine in a publishing house, then most of their printing tasks depend on the machine to be completed. In this case, tasks have to be aligned such that they can be taken up one by one in a specific workflow. This avoids overlapping and mismanagement of work throughout the project.

The Kanban board has one of the most useful views to visualize this category of dependencies. This is because the board throws light on which tasks are in progress, which ones are completed, and which ones are yet to be taken up.

Task Dependency Based on People

A people-based task dependency refers to tasks that have been assigned to the same person. For example, a team member may have five tasks assigned to them. You cannot expect the team members to work on all five tasks simultaneously. In this scenario, they will take up tasks one by one. Thus, here, tasks are achieved depending on the person it has been assigned to.

Using a Gantt chart is a popular technique for visualizing progress across multiple tasks. A Gantt chart helps view the ongoing tasks along with their assigned resources and due dates. It also helps track that there is no overlap between tasks at any stage of the project’s life cycle. This further helps eliminate multi-tasking and resulting inefficiency.

Task Dependency Based on Project

Often, two different projects have task dependencies between them. This is possible because two projects may share the same set of resources.

Imagine this. A team member is assigned two tasks but from different projects. The team member can only take up one task at a time, ensuring efficiency throughout. Once completed, they will be in a position to take up the other task from another project. Thus, here, the two tasks, though from different projects, are dependent on each other.

For smooth project execution, you must rely on a good task management software. It allows you to:

Task Dependency Based on Team

Task dependencies can be based on teams. This is possible because teams too can share the same resources. For example, both the content and marketing teams of an organization may need an SEO executive to gain key insights into their work. Here, too, the SEO executive can only cater to one team at a time. Thus, here the task dependency is based on teams.

For this too, a task management tool may come in handy for smoothly running workflows from beginning to end.

Task Dependencies Based on Predecessor-Successor Relationship

Another way to define dependent tasks is by establishing their relationship as a predecessor and a successor.

Let’s take a look at it.

1. Finish to Start (FS)

Finish to start dependency

The finish to start dependency is undeniably one of the most popular types of dependencies. In this, the predecessor task must be completed before starting the successor task.

Take a scenario where you have to construct an office space. For this, you have to acquire the raw materials and start building the office. In this, you cannot construct the office until you bring in the raw materials such as cement, tiles, bricks, etc. So, here, acquiring the raw materials is the predecessor task that will be completed before the successor task, which is constructing the office building.

2. Start to Start (SS)

Start to start dependency

Start to start dependency means that one task cannot be started until the other task is started. This means that the commencement of one task is dependent on the commencement of the other task. So, here, the successor task can be started once the predecessor task is started, without any requirement to complete  the predecessor task.

Suppose you’re filling a large tank and pouring water on plants using a smaller jug. Here, filling a task is the predecessor task which must be started first. Only then can you start pouring water. Thus, it is not necessary that you wait for the tank to fill completely to the brim so that you can start watering the plants.

3. Finish to Finish (FF)

Finish to finish dependency

Finish to finish dependency means that the successor task can only be finished once the predecessor task is finished. Thus, the successor task is dependent on the predecessor task for its completion. Note that both the tasks may be running simultaneously but cannot be completed together. One task will be finished after the other.

Take an example of constructing a house. As the walls are constructed, the painting of the walls can begin. However, all the walls must be constructed to completely finish the painting work. Thus, the completion of the painting work is dependent on the completion of the construction of the walls of the house. Though both the tasks can be carried out simultaneously, one cannot be finished until the other is finished.

4. Start to Finish (SF)

Start to finish dependency

Start to finish dependency is one of the most complicated and rarely used dependencies of the four. In this relationship, the successor task cannot be finished until the predecessor task has started. Thus the successor task is dependent on the predecessor task’s commencement for its completion.

Picture the scenario where you are unable to find a professional, full-time photographer for your regular corporate events. In such a situation, you go ahead and hire a student who agrees to work part-time for your events. Here, the tenure of the student cannot be finished until you hire a professional photographer.

Managing Task Dependency in Various Project Management Methodologies

As a project manager, you might be incorporating a particular project management methodology for managing your tasks and workflows. However, how you manage task dependencies in every methodology varies. We’ll quickly go through how you can manage task dependencies better using Gantt, Kanban, and List views.

1. Gantt Chart Dependencies

Gantt chart dependencies help visualize task dependencies using a Timeline view.

To set a dependency to a task, go to the left-handed section of a Gantt chart view. It displays all the tasks of a project in a list. Now, click on a task to which you wish to set a dependency. You will see that a small side window will appear. On this, select the ‘Advanced’ section. The section will open itself to a lot of features. One of these features will be to set dependencies between tasks. Using this, you can select which task you want to tie the open task’s dependency to. As you select a task, dependency will be linked between both.

Once set, you can view this dependency by using a Gantt chart . This will allow you to view task dependencies at a glance for clear-cut workflows.

2. Kanban Board Dependencies

Kanban board dependencies define task dependencies using a board with task cards. These task cards are distributed across different columns indicating the stages of a project.

To set a dependency, click on the task card to which you wish to set a dependency. A side window will open. In this, select the ‘Advanced’ section. You will see a ‘Dependent Task’ feature here. Simply click on its drop-down button and select the task that you wish to set the dependency with. And, voila! Task dependency is set! You can view this dependency on the Kanban board and establish a well-defined flow of task execution.

3. Task Dependencies in List View

The List view offers you a complete view of all your tasks in a simple list. To set a task dependency in this view, scroll over the task that you want to set a dependency on. As you scroll on the task, a blue rectangular button will appear below the task title with the word ‘View’ written on it. All you have to do is click on it and a side window will open. This window will have a section named ‘Advanced.’ On clicking this, the tool’s advanced features will show up. Among these, there will be an option to set ‘Dependent Task’. Just select the task that you want to set the selected task’s dependency to and you’re good to go! The task dependency will be reflected in the List view.

Benefits of Following Task Dependency

Let’s look at the benefits of following task dependencies.

Working with established task dependencies helps:

How to Set Task Dependency in ProProfs Project

Setting task dependencies is easy if you’re working on a simple tool that requires no specific training.

So, we’ll go step-by-step on how to set task dependencies in ProProfs Project.

Step 1:  Set up the Project Dashboard

To start with, you set up the project dashboard. To do this, you either choose a ready-to-use template or start from scratch, building your unique dashboard. Firstly, name your project. Then, add tasks to your project . You can add a task to a project in two ways.

Setting up task dependency in proprofs project

You can either use the Add Task text box or click the +Add task button. Next, you add in the variables of the task.

adding task variable in proprofs project

So, you can:

You can even prioritize tasks so that they get picked up first. This ensures that these important or urgent tasks get accomplished right away.

Note that you can even create subtasks for tasks to make projects more manageable.

Creating subtask in proprofs project

And yes, you can even edit these details by clicking on the View task button.

Task view option in project software

Besides, you can create sections to organize your tasks throughout the project.

Task organization in proprofs project

This allows you to view your tasks under specific categories and their individual progress at a glance.

Step 2: Set up Task Dependencies

Now that your dashboard is set, you can move on to make the workflow clearer. For this, you set up dependencies between tasks. These dependencies will indicate the flow of tasks and establish a set path of task execution for team members. This will help eliminate any confusion leading to delayed tasks.

Let’s understand this better with a product screenshot.

set up task dependency

The above screenshot displays the tasks under a project. The amber, green, and red symbols together indicate the Traffic Light Status.

Amber indicates a task that is On-hold, i.e., you are waiting on something.

Green indicates a task that is Active, something you are working on currently.

Red indicates a task that is In-active, implying that you don’t need to think about the task right now.

These symbols help in establishing dependencies between tasks.

The red light status means that this task is dependent on another task to be started. So, if you get done with the Green light task, you can move on to starting the task in Red light and set its status as Green light while running that task.

This way, you and the team clearly understand which tasks depend on others to get started, eliminating confusion regarding task workflows.

Step 3: Simplify Team Collaboration

A tool enables team members to be on the same page with task progress. Using the tool, they can give and receive instant feedback via task comments. Team members can also share files on the go. Adopting a tool helps discuss ideas and address roadblocks immediately.

Step 4: Monitor Progress

The most crucial thing while managing tasks is to keep an eye on the progress. Look for gaps that need improvement. Track key metrics and be prepared to address discrepancies. You can visualize progress from different perspectives using:

1. Gantt Chart

Gantt chart dependencies

A Gantt chart is great for visualizing progress from start to finish. Its bars display what percentage of progress is a task at. It also clearly displays the task dependencies throughout the project with overlapping task bars across the Timeline.

2. Kanban Board

Kanban board dependencies

A Kanban Board helps categorize tasks in different stages of the project execution process. Also, each task card displays the task title, its users, its percentage of progress, and file attachments, if any.

3. Calendar view

Dependency setting in calender view

A Calendar view lets you view project progress at a glance. Using it, you know which tasks are accomplished and which ones are yet to be completed. You can also use a drag and drop action to extend deadlines for projects and tasks.

Step 5: Adjust and Optimize Workflows

It is rare that the scheduled tasks will go exactly as planned. You are bound to face some challenges for which you might have to adjust workflows. For example, a team member takes an unplanned leave, and a task has to be completed that day itself. What will you do? Will you wait for the team member to join the next day and risk your task deadline? No, right? Here, you go to your project dashboard and optimize workflows. You do this by assigning another team member to the task. Thus, you need a tool that enables you to adjust workflows on the fly to cater to existing needs. Also, a drag and drop functionality comes in handy in such scenarios.

Set Effective Project Workflows With Task Dependencies

Setting up task dependencies in project management is indispensable for creating a clear-cut project workflow. Dependencies help establish accountability so that everyone is certain about what needs to be done when. These also help track actual progress without struggling to join randomly done tasks together.

Thus, now you have a fair idea of the types of dependency and how they can be categorized depending on their types. So get started and set up task dependencies in your everyday workflows for smooth-flowing projects. This will not only eliminate any scheduling conflicts but also help you monitor progress in an orderly sequence.

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David Miller

About the author

David miller.

David is a Project Management expert. He has been published in elearningindustry.com , simpleprogrammer.com . As a project planning and execution expert at ProProfs, he has offered a unique outlook on improving workflows and team efficiency. Connect with David for more engaging conversations on Twitter , LinkedIn , and Facebook .

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Task Dependencies In Project Management (All You Need To Know)

Vartika Kashyap

Task Dependencies In Project Management

“ Task dependencies in project management”. I’m sure that this phenomenon is nothing new for project managers and their teams. However, if you’ve just started in the domain of project management then you need to understand project task dependencies in detail. 

The domain of project management and human life have one common scenario – interdependence of various activities to meet our needs and build momentum to progress.

Whether it’s a small, straightforward project or a large, complex project, there will be a sequence in which tasks are supposed to be completed. Most (if not all) of these tasks are dependent on each other. 

You’ll rarely come across a project in which all tasks are independent of each other. 

This article is composed with the intention to help you understand what are task dependencies in project management , their vitality, their types, examples, and how to manage them effectively to deliver a project successfully. 

Read on to know all about it.

Table of Contents

What is task dependency in project management? 

Example 1: content creation and approval, how constraints and project task dependencies are directly correlated , causal dependencies, resource-based dependencies, preferential dependencies, external dependencies, cross-team dependencies, finish to start (fs) dependencies , finish to finish (ff) dependencies, start to start (ss) dependencies, start to finish (sf) dependencies, task management software.

Custom workflows and kanban boards 

Dealing with task dependencies in project management with kanban boards, the final word.

Inter-dependent tasks in project management are those that rely on each other to be performed (completely or partially) before the next one could be started. Where there’s a task dependency, there’ll always be preceding and successive tasks; the latter depends on the former. 

project management with task dependencies

This can also be termed as a logical or preferential relationship between two activities or tasks. Let us take a look at some examples to easily understand this aspect of project management. 

Examples of task dependencies in project management

Given below are some simple examples to exemplify the concept for beginners who are still coming to terms with project management and team collaboration . 

Content is the King in the domain of digital marketing but you cannot create and post content straightaway. You need a trending or evergreen topic to create content, proofread it, get it reviewed and approved, and then post it on your website (or on another platform). This way, one activity is dependent on the other. 

You cannot start with an article or a blog until you finalize a topic. Once the topic is approved you create a draft and get it reviewed. Now, if the content is not approved during the review process, it will not be allowed to publish, and so on. So, you can see that all these tasks are dependent on each other.  

Why do we need task dependencies in a project?

project management with task dependencies

The task or project dependencies are crucial to its overall success. A project manager needs to set task dependencies to: 

A constraint is a bottleneck or setback within the scope of an in-progress task.

These restrictions can be internal, like a lack of adequate resources in the form of money and a skilled workforce. Let’s say you need to assemble 10 PCs in a day but you only have one technician who cannot put together more than 5 PCs in a day. To assemble 10 PCs in a day, he would need additional tools to speed up the process.

Here, constraints are the lack of tools with the technician, and the task of assembling all 10 PCs in a day is therefore dependent on the technician’s ability to do it. 

Constraints can also be external. For example , if you’re planning to get your house repainted, you need to hire a paint contractor to get the job done. Without it, you cannot start with your repainting project.  

The aforementioned examples show that the constraints have given birth to the dependencies and vice-versa.  

What are different types of project task dependencies

Project planning dependencies establish relationships among predecessor and successor tasks. There are different types of task dependencies in project management, which are listed below. 

Causal or logical task dependencies cannot be avoided. These dependencies occur naturally in the flow of tasks within a project. Without completing one task, you cannot initiate the next task in any way.   

Resource-based task dependencies are constraints-driven. There is no causal dependency, which means that all tasks and activities can be completed together if all required resources are available. 

Preferential dependencies are driven by optimal practices or convenience. Preferential dependencies focus on the quality of deliverables and are determined by the project manager and the project team.  

External task dependencies are those dependencies that are beyond the control of project managers and teams. External dependencies rely on third parties or outside vendors for completion.   

Cross-team dependencies exist when two or more teams are required for delivering an end-to-end project. These dependencies present a stiff challenge to larger organizations. 

This is probably the most common type of project task dependencies used in project management. In this case, task B depends on task A to get started. If task A is not completed satisfactorily then there’s no chance of task B getting started. For example, you cannot watch a football match in a stadium unless you buy a ticket first. 

FF task dependencies in project management mean that the successor task cannot be completed until the predecessor task is completed as well. For example, laying asphalt must finish before lane painting can be completed. 

SS task dependencies in project management mean that the successor task cannot be started until the predecessor task has begun. Two tasks need to start simultaneously. For example, a car race cannot start unless all cars have started racing. 

SF task dependencies in project management are least frequently used. This means that the predecessor activity can only complete once the successor task has been initiated. For example, employees working in a day-shift cannot wrap up unless employees working in a night-shift are present at work. 

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How you can manage task dependencies effectively with a robust project management software

Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or just started in a new role, you cannot expect to manage any project with task dependencies without using a powerful team collaboration and project management tool. 

I’m stressing the word “ powerful” here because not all project management tools can get the job done. Many PM tools have limited features, which makes them unsuitable to tackle task dependencies. 

ProofHub is an award-winning project management software with all the right tools your team needs put under one roof. All your team members can share a common platform that further improves collaboration and simplifies project management. 

Using various tools installed in different locations to manage task dependencies has proven to be a major challenge for project managers. ProofHub is designed and created to allow teams of any size, from any industry, to manage both easy and complex projects with utmost efficiency.  

With inbuilt task management software and time tracking software , ProofHub enables project managers and their teams to deal with all challenges you might face. Whether you’re working on-site or remotely, you’ll always stay in the thick of things with ProofHub available for both desktop and mobile versions. 

Let’s see how you can use ProofHub to manage task dependencies effectively. 

ProofHub as a employee management system

The task management software in ProofHub is the best thing that can happen to project managers today. Using this highly functional software, you can create, assign, and manage all your tasks in a single location, and monitor them even when you’re on the go. 

Let’s see how task management software can be of great help to project managers and their teams. 

Gantt Charts  

ProofHub gantt charts

Use Gantt charts in ProofHub to have greater control over teams, projects, and resources easily. Gantt charts are designed to meet the needs of any organization irrespective of its size. These charts can be simple or complex, based on the nature of work your team is doing.  

Gantt charts help you get a clear picture of all tasks, their progress, who’s working on what to make well-informed decisions, avoid bottlenecks, and manage resources efficiently. 

Using Gantt charts, you can visualize and plan tasks, stay on top of your schedule, set task dependencies, and adjust your plans as work changes and deadlines shift. Read on more to discover how you can use Gantt charts to smartly manage task dependencies. 

I hope things are crystal clear in your mind as to how an online Gantt chart tool in ProofHub makes it easier for you to update work schedules if there are any changes to it. You can change the order of tasks using the Gantt chart tool to manage task dependencies in project management. 

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Kanban board for design team

Besides the Gantt chart, another useful tool in ProofHub for managing task dependencies in project management is Kanban boards . What makes these boards efficient for handling task dependencies are its core principles – visualizing tasks at hand and seeing work moving through multiple stages. 

According to a report, 90% of information that enters our brain is visual, and our brain processes visuals much faster than text. An additional benefit of visualizing workflow in Kanban boards is that it makes constraints and dependencies visible. 

Another feature of Kanban boards that makes it easier to manage task dependencies in project management is managing lead time i.e. the time it takes for a single task to get completed, from the start to finish. An unfavorable lead time can be attributed to long work processes and restrictions in the process. A Kanban board enables project managers and team members to visualize the work status and process constraints.  

When it comes to managing task dependencies, there’s no one size-fits all approach. Many businesses combine different methodologies to serve their purpose. However, the Kanban offers a versatile way to tackle dependencies. 

A visual tool like Kanban boards allow you to visualize workflows, better understand your work processes, identify complicated work stages, and get an overview of your workload. You may need to divide tasks into manageable subtasks so that the work continues to progress as planned. Once you identify potential project constraints, you’re in a better position to take required preemptive actions. 

After identifying different task dependencies and restrictions, annotate tasks with the names of tasks that depend on it and ones it depends on. Knowing the sequence of requirements helps you and your team members ensure that all tasks are carried out in a consistent stream. 

Prioritize tasks based on schedules as some tasks become more relevant around specific dates. You can move such tasks lower or up on a scheduling calendar , depending up on their due dates. 

Project managers can customize the Kanban board by adding more columns to 3 basic columns of a standard workflow – to-do, in-progress, and done. You can also add horizontal swimlanes to view and track tasks dependencies in project management. This is useful in case you have a lot of external dependencies that are beyond your control. 

You can track each task dependency within a project to make sure that tasks are progressing while improving processes. You can track 4 things: total work in progress, blockers, throughput, and the lead time. Having this information will help project managers plan and schedule efficiently while minimizing risks. 

The fact is that you cannot manage task dependencies in project management without leveraging technology. With its powerful features, ease of use, and minimal learning curve, a robust project management and team collaboration software like ProofHub can be your shot in the arm.

This cloud-based software with inbuilt features like Gantt chart , Kanban boards, and Task Management Software among others help you give greater control over all task dependencies from a single location. 

 Whether you’re working on-site or remotely, ProofHub will always have your back!

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Meet Vartika Kashyap, the CMO at ProofHub, a leading project management and team collaboration software company. With over 17 years of marketing experience, she is an expert in branding, marketing campaigns, and reaching the right audience. Vartika is passionate about promoting work-life balance, mental health, and teamwork in the workplace, and her articles and insights have earned her recognition as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices for three consecutive years. Her articles are regularly featured in top-tier publications such as eLearning Industry, Business2Community, DZone, and Business.com, making her an influential thought leader in the industry.    

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monday.com Blog

All the tools you need to manage project dependencies

project management with task dependencies

2020 was the year of dependencies. Some healthy — weekly Zoom calls with loved ones — and some less so. I’m talking to you, pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

In a project, dependency management is crucial to success.

Consider a cake making factory.

If you don’t get a grip on your dependencies, your cake will be ready for decorating and you’ll realize you’ve forgotten to make the icing. Having to wait while the icing is made takes time, slows down production, and, ultimately, costs money.

In this article, we’ll explain what dependencies management is and share a few tips and tools to keep everything on track.

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What are the different types of dependencies?

Before we start, a quick note on constraints . A constraint is a limit within which a task has to be completed. The classic constraints in project management are scope, time, and budget.

Constraints can give rise to dependencies and dependencies might result in constraints, but they’re not the same thing.

For example, say I need to build a house and, to meet the client’s expectations, I have to complete it within 7 days.

Roofing the house is dependent  on first building the walls. If it takes 5 days to build the walls, then roofing the house must be completed within 2 days. This is a constraint that’s come about because of the duration of the task on which it is dependent.

There are 3 main types of dependencies:

Resource-based dependencies may be an area in the project where the constraint changes during the project.

For example, if, initially, resource was constrained by budget but it’s critical the project finishes on time and is currently behind schedule, investing in extra resource may mean tasks can be completed in parallel, hence shortening the overall timeline.

Note:   Causal dependencies  are part of a wider group of dependencies called task dependencies . Tasks that cannot start before the preceding tasks have been completed are the most common type. This type of task dependency is called ‘Finish to Start’.

However, you can also have ‘Finish to Finish’, ‘Start to Start’ and ‘Start to Finish’ task dependencies. For more on these, check out our article on task dependencies.

It’s important to note that you’ll likely have some dependencies that are within your control — for example, the sequencing of tasks within the project. An internal dependency is a task that is dependent on other tasks within the same project .

External dependencies, however, are project dependencies outside the control of the project team. These could include project inputs being completed by another department or project team within the company or even activities being completed externally to the company.

In our house-building example, this might be gaining approval from building regulators that the foundations are sound before the walls can be built.

Why do dependencies need managing?

In a nutshell, managing your dependencies is all about managing project risk. 71%  of organizations fail to ‘always or mostly’ complete their projects on time.

Identifying your project’s dependencies is key to accurately estimating your project’s duration.

Using the critical path method  you can identify the string of dependent tasks that takes the longest time to complete. This is the expected overall duration of the project.

Accurately estimating the overall project duration is important so you can manage the expectations of stakeholders who want the job done yesterday when, in reality, you know it’ll be done in a month of Sundays.

Knowing your project’s timeline and the expected start and finish of individual tasks is crucial for effective resource management .

screenshot showing resources assigned to project tasks and task duration

Even if resource availability isn’t a constraint having people sitting around twiddling their thumbs while they wait for another task to complete isn’t a particularly good use of time or money.

And there’s nothing more frustrating than working hard at a dependent task only to find there isn’t the resource available to move it on to the next stage.

Being able to report to stakeholders that the project is on track to deliver on time builds confidence. This is crucial if release of funding for the next project stage is dependent on the successful completion of the previous stage.

Identifying preferential dependencies can result in higher quality deliverables which is important if there are strict acceptance criteria.

Finally, it’s worth considering that your project might be a dependency in someone else’s. Failing to complete your project on time could have a knock-on effect on projects downstream, further compounding the problem.

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How tools can help manage dependencies

The first step in identifying dependencies is to break large tasks into smaller ones. As this gets more complex, using a work breakdown structure  (WBS) template, like this one from monday.com, can help keep everything organized.

Project WBS template from monday.com

Once you’ve outlined your WBS, it’s easier to see how tasks should be ordered. At this stage, holding a dependencies workshop with business stakeholders is critical for understanding how tasks relate to each other.

Using a visual tool, such as a Kanban board or Gantt chart , can really help people understand the parts of the project and more easily identify how they rely on each other.

A digital Kanban board  makes it simple to compile and reorder tasks and means you’re not frantically trying to juggle a million Post-it notes.

With this information you can start to build your project schedule showing tasks, key milestones, dependencies and the expected date of the task start and finish.

Here’s how it might look in monday.com:

screenshot of project plan showing tasks and their dependencies

The project schedule is critical for monitoring progress against the overall duration allowing early warning of any potential delays.

Information from resource allocation  planning can be integrated to ensure you always have a resource available when you need it.

Finally, it’s crucial to capture dependencies that are out of the control of the project team in the project risk register.

It can be frustrating if an external dependency creates delays and making sure that the possibility is flagged to stakeholders is important.

It means they can take decisions on building flexibility into the project schedule and gives them confidence that the project team is doing its best to manage all the variables.

How managing dependencies lowers project risk

In this article we’ve explained what dependencies are and why effectively managing them is critical for delivering your project on time and on budget.

Dependencies, by their nature, bring additional risk to your project so it’s important to identify and control them where possible.

After all, out of control dependencies — still looking at you Cherry Garcia — are so 2020.

If dependencies are  outside the control of the project, make sure they’re flagged on the risk register and monitor them closely. We’ve got a great project risk register  to get you started.

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Frequently asked questions

What are issue types?

Issue types distinguish different types of work in unique ways, and help you identify, categorize, and report on your team’s work across your Jira site. They can help your team build more structure into your working process. 

Multiple issue types help you search and sort the work your team takes on, track the progress of specific types of work, even estimate how well your team responds to bugs or how fast they complete larger initiatives.

Each Jira product comes with default issue types to suit the needs of your projects and teams. You can customize your issue types to match any method of project management you want.

We provide suggested issue types to help you classify tasks to work in common agile software development or IT service management methods. Get started with these default issue types or create your own .

What are parent and child issues?

Parent and child are terms that describe a type of relationship between issues:

A parent issue is an issue that sits above another issue e.g. a story that’s made up of subtasks.

A child issue is an issue that sits below another issue e.g. a subtask that belongs to a task.

This means that the parent and child relationship isn’t limited to specific issue types. Rather, any issue type can be both a parent and a child issue — the only exception being subtasks, which can only be a child since there aren’t any issue types below it in the hierarchy.

For example, if you have this issue hierarchy:

Story, Task, Bug

As a parent issue, an epic can have stories, tasks, and bugs as child issues.

As a parent issue, a task can have subtasks as child issues.

A subtask can’t have any child issues.

Best practices

Since the issue view can only display up to 500 child issues, we recommend limiting your issues to that amount. If an issue exceeds 500 child issues:

Instead of viewing your child issues from the issue view, you’ll have to view them in search — which you can go to straight from the issue view.

If you use time tracking, you won’t be able to include subtasks.

Pro tip : To reduce your number of child issues, try splitting the parent issue. For example, if an epic has too many stories, it might be a sign that your epic can be split into multiple epics. Or if a task has too many subtasks, it might deserve to be split into multiple tasks. Learn more about structuring work for your agile team .

What are issue type hierarchy levels?

By default, Jira supports three levels of hierarchy:

Epic issues , which represent high-level initiatives or bigger pieces of work in Jira. For software teams, an epic may represent a new feature they're developing. For IT service teams, epics may represent a major service change or upgrade. For business teams, epics may represent major deliverables or phases of a project.

Standard issues represent regular business tasks. In Jira, standard issues are where daily work is discussed and carried out by team members. For software teams, standard issues (like bugs or stories) estimate and track the effort required to build an interaction or other end goal in your team's software. For service teams, standard issues represent different requests made by your team's customers, like requesting service or support, or reporting problems or incidents with your infrastructure. For business teams, standard issues represent and track your team member's daily tasks.

Subtask issues , which can help your team break a standard issue into smaller chunks. This can be helpful if your team has a task that requires multiple people working on it, or if your team underestimates the scope or complexity of their work. Subtasks can be described and estimated separately to their related standard issue and can help your team better understand and estimate similar work in the future.

The issue type hierarchy settings allow you to manage the default hierarchy levels for issue types in Jira. Jira Premium and Enterprise customers can also create additional levels in their issue type hierarchy. Learn more about managing the issue type hierarchy .

If you use Advanced Roadmaps, additional hierarchy levels can allow you to track your organization’s larger initiatives in your plans and unify cross-project work. Learn more about configuring the issue type hierarchy in Advanced Roadmaps .

Default issue types

Here's a list of the default issue types that come with each Jira product:

Jira Work Management (business projects) issue types

By default, business projects come with one standard issue type:

A task represents work that needs to be done.

By default, business projects come with one child issue type:

A subtask is a piece of work that is required to complete a task.

Jira Software (software projects) issue types

By default, software projects come with one parent issue type:

A big user story that needs to be broken down. Epics group together bugs, stories, and tasks to show the progress of a larger initiative. In agile development, epics usually represent a significant deliverable, such as a new feature or experience in the software your team develops.

By default, software projects come with three standard issue types:

A bug is a problem which impairs or prevents the functions of a product.

A user story is the smallest unit of work that needs to be done.

By default, software projects come with one child issue type:

A subtask is a piece of work that is required to complete a task. Subtasks issues can be used to break down any of your standard issues in Jira (bugs, stories or tasks).

Jira Service Management (service projects) issue types

Requesting a change in the current IT profile.

Requesting help for an IT related problem.

Reporting an incident or IT service outage.

New feature

Requesting new capability or software feature.

Investigating and reporting the root cause of multiple incidents.

Service request

Requesting help from an internal or customer service team.

Service request with approval

Requesting help that requires a manager or board approval.

Requesting help for customer support issues. 

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project management with task dependencies

Project Management

The Project Management Guide to Dependencies. Everything you need to know about dependencies in project management.


Max 8 min read

The Project Management Guide to Dependencies. Everything you need to know about dependencies in project management.

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Dependencies are a concept that you will undoubtedly have come across in your experience as a project manager. They are an essential component of project management, but they can be one of the most perplexing topics for newcomers to understand.

This guide will explain everything you need to know about dependencies in project management , including what they are, the different types of dependencies, and how to properly utilize them in your projects.

What is a Dependency

What is a Dependency?

A dependency is a task that must be completed before another task can begin. In other words, the completion of one task is dependent on the completion of another task. Dependencies can be either internal or external.

Internal dependencies are tasks that must be completed within your team for the next task to begin. For example, if your team is responsible for both the design and development of a website, the completion of the design must come before the development can begin.

External dependencies are tasks that must be completed by an outside party before your team can move on to the next task. For example, if you are working on a project with a client, the client may need to provide you with specific information or sign off on certain aspects of the project before you can continue.

Properly managing dependencies is crucial to the success of any project. If not managed properly, dependencies can cause delays and roadblocks that can throw off the entire project schedule.

Talking Dependencies

Key Terms For You To Know When Talking Dependencies

The following are some of the key terms associated with project management’s dependencies. It’s important that you understand and are familiar with these terms, as they will come up often when discussing dependencies.


Constraints are the boundary markers for a project’s activity. If you bump up against a constraint, the activity cannot begin or continue.

Common constraints related to your projects include time, scope, quality, budget, resources, and risks. Once you identify the constraints for a project, you can then create a schedule and workflow that works within those boundaries.

Often constraints are the conditions or limits that dictate the project schedule. For example, if your team only has access to the office from 9 am-5 pm, that is a constraint on the project.

Constraints are often precipitated by risks. For example, if there is a risk that the budget will not be approved, that may limit the scope of the project or impose a time constraint. By understanding and identifying risks early on, you can mitigate their impact on the project.

A great project manager is someone who can keep track of all the constraints and dependencies while utilizing resources in a way that ensures the quality of the final project.

Lead & Lag

Lead and lag are two terms that are often used together when discussing dependencies. Lead is the amount of time that one task can be completed before another task begins. Lag is the amount of time that one task must be delayed after another task has been completed.

For example, if task A must be completed before task B can begin, then task A has a lead of 0 days. If task A must be completed 3 days before task B can begin, then task A has a lead of 3 days.

If Task A must be delayed 2 days after Task B is completed, then Task A has a lag of 2 days.

Lead and lag can be used to create buffers in the project schedule. By adding lead or lag time to certain tasks, you can account for unforeseen delays or risks. This gives you some flexibility if something does go wrong.

Critical Path

The critical path is the sequence of tasks that must be completed for the project to be finished on time. The critical path is the longest sequence of tasks with no lead or lag time.

If any task on the critical path is delayed, it will delay the entire project. For this reason, it is important to identify the critical path early on and to monitor it closely throughout the project.

The critical path can be changed by adding lead or lag time to tasks, or by changing the order of tasks. However, these changes should only be made if necessary, as they can have a ripple effect on the entire project schedule.


A predecessor is a task that must be completed before another task can begin. For example, if you are writing a report, the research tasks would be predecessors to the writing task.

A successor is a task that cannot begin until another task has been completed. For example, the editing task would be a successor to the writing task.

Dependencies can be represented using a predecessor-successor relationship diagram. This is a useful tool for visualizing the relationships between tasks.

If you are working on a project, it is important to understand the dependencies between tasks. This will help you to plan the project and to avoid any potential problems.

Types of Dependencies

Different Types of Dependencies For You To Consider.

Dependencies are a necessary part of any project. Without them, projects would lack focus, clarity, and direction. However, dependencies can also be a source of confusion and frustration. To successfully manage a project, it’s important to understand the different types of dependencies and how they can impact the project.

Dependencies can be classified into various types depending on criteria like task completion and start, the connection between your business functions and the project, and the dependency’s purpose.

The most common types of dependencies are:

Hard & Soft Dependencies : Dependencies can be classified as either soft or hard. Hard dependencies are absolute and cannot be changed. For example, the task of painting cannot begin until the priming is completed. This is a hard dependency.

Soft dependencies are flexible and can be changed if necessary. For example, if you are painting a room, the task of getting the paint from the store can be delayed if necessary. This is a soft dependency.

How to Utilize Dependencies

How to Utilize Dependencies in Project Management

There are a few key things to keep in mind when utilizing dependencies in project management:

Dependencies can be a complex concept, but understanding them is essential to successfully managing any project.

Dependencies are an important part of project management. They ensure that tasks are executed and in the correct order and that all of the necessary tasks are completed.

Dependencies can be classified into different types, such as internal and external dependencies, hard and soft dependencies, and resource dependencies. When utilizing dependencies in project management, it is important to understand all of the dependencies involved in the project, sequence the dependencies, and manage the dependencies throughout the project.

By following these steps, you can ensure that all of the dependencies in your project are properly managed and that your project stays on track.

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7 Things to Quickly Overcome the Imposter SyndromeHave you ever felt like you don’t really deserve your achievements? Or maybe that you just got lucky to be in the position you’re in today? Oh, here’s another one—perhaps you’re afraid that your colleagues will find out that you’re an imposter enjoying the benefits of an unfairly …

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Calendar Management


Manage Your Calendar Like A Pro

Manage Your Calendar Like A ProThere isn’t a more widely used and recognized productivity tool than the calendar. People use calendars for all sorts of purposes including the planning of daily activities, remembering birthdays, and scheduling meetings… just to name a few! There is no one size fits all system to manage your calendar but …

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How to Make the Most Out of Agile SDLC For Your Project Management Workflow

How to Make the Most Out of Agile SDLC For Your Project Management WorkflowThe Agile methodology is quickly gaining in popularity due to its ability to adapt to changing requirements and fast-paced work environments. Agile SDLC, or Agile Software Development Life Cycle, is a variation of the Agile methodology that is specifically tailored for software …

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project management with task dependencies

Understanding Dependencies in Project Management

In project management , identifying and handling a variety of dependencies is one of the most important tasks team leaders will manage. The challenge is that dependencies in project management are often complex. There are different types of dependencies that need to be considered in different project phases. In this article, we’ll dive deep into project dependencies by going over types, examples, and how Wrike can be used to seamlessly manage them all. 

What are project dependencies? 

Project dependencies, also known as task dependencies , are the order in which tasks should be performed. They allow you to work out the optimal order for the project, giving the fastest route through the work. For example, if Task B is dependent on Task A, Task A will need to be completed first in order for Task B to begin. 

Types of project dependencies

There are ten different types of dependencies in project management . You’ll need to be familiar with each of them to optimize your project planning . Some are intuitively named, but others may require additional explanation. Keep reading to learn these essential terms.

Casual dependencies

This type of project dependency is any task that follows the logical sequence of events. These are typically easy to assume . 

Resource-based dependencies

This dependency is created when more than one project requires the same resource for completion. The project will be dependent on the completion of each task and whether or not there is enough of that resource available for all project needs. 

Preferential-based dependencies

Preferential-based dependencies are unique to each team and have to do with best practices, established procedures, and the intuition of the project manager . 

Cross-team dependencies

Cross-team dependencies are when teams from multiple projects or departments need to work together to deliver an end-to-end solution.

External dependencies

An external dependency is a requirement that a task needs from a third party before it can proceed. This dependency often takes the form of an approval. 

FS dependencies

FS stands for finish-to-start. The finish date of the preceding task gives the date of when the next task will begin.

SF dependencies

SF stands for start-to-finish. The start date of the preceding task gives the date of when the next task will be completed. 

SS dependencies

SS stands for start-to-start. A start-to-start dependency means that a successor project cannot start before its predecessor has done so too.

FF dependencies

FF stands for finish-to-finish. This dependency tells the successor task to finish the predecessor's work. They don’t need to be completed at the same time, but one can’t finish unless the other is ending or has already ended. 

Outside-inside dependencies

An internal task has external dependencies in order to complete or vice versa.

Project dependencies examples

Now that you know all of the different dependencies, here are some examples of each one to help you better understand what they look like in real life:

How to manage project dependencies with Wrike

Wrike is a project management tool that allows you to find, plan for, and manage a variety of complex project phases with task dependencies through features such as the Timeline and automated task dependencies . 

The Timeline feature allows users to plan and schedule tasks with drag-and-click support. It eliminates the need to create separate task lists for each project. Task dependencies are easy to view and piece together within a given timeframe. 

Wrike also offers individual task dependencies , a feature that automatically links tasks to each other and shows the downstream effects of each link. This feature makes it much easier to maintain an accurate project plan. 

And if any changes need to be made while the project is underway, managers can quickly rearrange employee schedules and to-do lists without losing sight of which tasks are already connected. 

Plus, Wrike offers robust communication features for stakeholders inside and outside of your immediate team. Loop in other departments through @mentions within tasks so they can quickly get up to speed with ongoing conversations and relay their informed input. Or, grant restricted access to third-party vendors and clients so they can seamlessly contribute to tasks as needed. 

Ready to master task dependencies and improve your project management strategy? Start Wrike’s free two-week trial today to better organize and execute complex project steps with ease. 

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Project Milestones Tracking Progress and Success

Project Milestones Tracking Progress and Success

How do big companies and organizations track their project progress and stay on top of their tasks? They employ project milestones, which help them reduce project failure, give project leaders a sense of direction, and show progress to the stakeholders.

On the other hand, the lack of clarity can quickly cause your team to derail from their plans. In this article, we'll dive into the importance of project milestones, how to set them, and best practices for tracking them effectively.

What are project milestones?

Project milestones are significant events or achievements that mark key stages in a project's progress toward completion. They are the checkpoints that help track and measure project success, ensuring the project stays on schedule and budget.

A milestone list is a document that includes all the key milestones for a project, such as its definition, due dates, dependencies, and any other relevant information. In short, project milestones are the critical steps you must complete to achieve the project's ultimate goal.

Why are Milestones important?

Milestones are important for several reasons:

Measure progress

Milestones provide a way to quantify progress and measure how far along a project is. You need to include milestones to know whether your project is moving in the right direction or is falling behind schedule.

Identifying risks and issues

By tracking milestones, project managers can identify potential risks and issues before they become severe problems. This allows them to mitigate risks and prevent issues from derailing the project.

Keep stakeholders in the loop

Milestones provide a way to communicate the project's status and progress to stakeholders, including team members, sponsors, and clients.

Project Milestones vs. Deliverables

Project milestones and deliverables are key components in project management, but they serve different purposes.

Project milestones are significant events or accomplishments that mark important stages in a project's progress toward completion. Milestones are typically used to measure progress and ensure the project stays on track. They also track critical deadlines, such as completing a major project phase, delivering a key product or service, or signing an important contract.

On the other hand, deliverables are tangible products, services, or results created during a project. Deliverables are usually specific to the project and are often used to measure project success. For example, deliverables include software programs, reports, designs, prototypes, and other products or services produced directly from the project.

In short, milestones are markers of progress, while deliverables are tangible products produced as a result of that progress. While they serve different purposes, milestones and deliverables are crucial components in project management that contribute to the project's success.

Scheduling with Milestones

project management with task dependencies

Scheduling with milestones is a crucial aspect of project management. Milestones are essential for accurately scheduling tasks and activities, ensuring the project stays on track and on time. Here are some key steps to effectively schedule a project using milestones:

Identify Milestones In A Project

There is no specific number of milestones your project should have.

When identifying milestones in a project, it's important to consider the project's objectives and critical success factors . Typically, milestones should represent significant events or achievements that mark key project development stages.

Milestones vs. goals

Milestones and goals work together to guide a project from start to finish. Goals provide the project's overarching purpose, while milestones provide specific checkpoints to ensure that the project is moving in the right direction. By measuring progress toward milestones and regularly reviewing progress toward goals, project managers can ensure that the project is on track and achieves its objectives.

Milestones vs. project phases

Project phases provide a high-level structure overview, while milestones provide specific checkpoints to ensure each stage progresses as planned.

Milestones vs. tasks

Tasks are the smaller components of a project, while milestones represent significant checkpoints that track progress and ensure that the project is on track. By setting and tracking milestones, project managers can monitor project progress, identify potential risks, and keep the project on track toward its ultimate objective.

Setting project milestone deadlines

Setting project milestone deadlines is a crucial step in managing a project effectively. Here are some tips to help set realistic and achievable milestone deadlines:

Project milestones reporting

project management with task dependencies

Project milestones reporting is the process of tracking and reporting the progress of your project against the pre-established milestones. The reports provide an overview of the project's progress, allowing stakeholders to be informed about the project status. Here are some key steps to follow when reporting project milestones:

Common project milestone pitfalls

There are several common pitfalls to watch out for when setting and managing project milestones. Here are some of the most common pitfalls:

Project milestone example

Here is an example of project milestones for building a new mobile application:

These milestones mark significant phases in the development of the mobile application and provide a clear plan to work towards. By setting realistic deadlines for each milestone, the team can stay on track and ensure a successful launch of the application.

Benefits of Establishing and Tracking Milestones

Establishing and tracking milestones provide a range of benefits in managing projects effectively. These benefits include:

Celebrating milestone achievements

project management with task dependencies

Celebrating milestone achievements is an essential aspect of project management, and it can be highly motivating to team members who have worked hard to reach the milestone. Here are some ways to celebrate milestone achievements:

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What Are Task Dependencies In Project Management?

What Are Task Dependencies In Project Management

Task dependencies are an essential aspect of project management . They help in ensuring that tasks are completed in a specific order, and in a timely and efficient manner. 

Dependency is a relationship that exists between tasks, where the completion of one task reflects on another. Understanding the connections between task dependencies within a project is crucial for its successful completion. It helps team members understand the processes in place and collaborate more effectively to meet the set expectations .

Determining task dependencies within a project helps with scheduling, resource allocation, risk management, and sequencing business processes and workflows . By understanding the different types of task dependencies, project managers can ensure that all work required remains on track , that resources are optimally allocated, and that the project is completed on time, and successfully.

In this article, we will clarify what task dependencies in project management are and why they matter. Also, we will outline the 4 main types, and 5 methods to apply them successfully in your business.

Task Dependencies in Project Management: Definition

Task Dependencies in Project Management_ Definition

Task dependencies form the basis of project management . They define the relationships that exist between different project activities and outline the order in which tasks must be done to ensure the project’s success.

Besides the fact that with clear task dependencies, project managers have better visibility on the scope of the tasks at hand, they also help identify risks that may arise in the project.Task dependencies also increase accountability among team members.

Each task has its dependencies to other tasks, and if one of them is late, it can delay the entire project. Therefore, each employee is responsible for the timely completion of their ‘part’, ensuring that the project remains on track.

4 Types of Task Dependencies

4 Types of Task Dependencies

The four main types of task dependencies are mandatory, discretionary, external, and internal.

Mandatory (Sequential) Dependencies : Mandatory dependencies occur when one task cannot start until another is completed. This type is crucial to the successful completion of a project as it outlines the sequence, or order, tasks must follow to ensure achievement of all objectives.

Discretionary (Preferential) Dependencies : Discretionary dependencies refer to tasks that could happen at the same time, but may benefit from completing them in a particular order. These types of task relationships can help with task sequencing to ensure that end outcomes happen faster and more efficiently.

External Dependencies : External dependencies refer to tasks that require outside resources to complete. These could be third-party vendors, other departments within the company, or the customer themselves. Project managers need to understand these external dependencies and ensure they are have the preparation necessary when it comes time to carry out the task.

Internal Dependencies : Internal dependencies refer to tasks that are dependent on resources within the organization, such as the availability of team members or specific hardware. They allow better resource allocation and prompt task completion.

Task Dependency Management: 5 Main Methods

project management with task dependencies

Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)

PDM is a network diagramming technique that models activity sequences in a project. It is an effective tool for task dependency management because it shows the exact relationships between different activities. PDM can identify the start and finish dates of different activities and an entire project.

Critical Path Method (CPM)

The critical path method is another effective tool for task dependency management. It helps identify the most critical activities in a project that must happen on time to meet the project’s deadline. The critical path method provides project managers with a clear understanding of how different tasks interact with each other and what activities are essential to the successful completion of the project.

Gantt Charts

Gantt charts are perhaps the most popular method for task dependency management. They are simple to understand and allow project managers to visualize all the stages of a project, the amount of time to complete each task , and the dependencies between them. Gantt charts can help you analyze task time frames, identify critical paths, and ensure dependencies are appropriately scheduled.

Resource Dependency Method

The resource dependency method uses a combination of scientific principles to determine the amount of time and resources to complete a task, and the task dependencies. It can help optimise resource allocation and ensure that successful completion of tasks within the time frame.

Agile Methodology

Agile methodology is a project management approach that involves breaking the project down into smaller, manageable chunks (“sprints’). Each sprint is a set period where your team needs to complete a specific group of tasks. Agile methodology can be effective for task dependency management because it encourages flexibility and adaptability .

Tasks assignment depends on priority. Thus, the completion of one task becomes a dependency for the next. This approach ensures that your team prioritises critical tasks completes on time, while still allowing for changes and modifications to the project plan as needed.

Bottom Line

Task dependencies are hugely important for the successful completion of projects. Having a thorough knowledge and understanding of the different types helps to proactively work on projects, create an efficient workflow, foresee potential problems and ultimately complete work faster. With the help of various methods such as PDM, CPM, Gantt Charts etc., project managers can efficiently manage task dependencies and ensure that projects run smoothly.

If you’re looking to streamline complex business processes within your project better, SaaS BPM may just be the solution you need! With our simple yet powerful software, you can easily visualize complex process flows with dynamically changing data, making collaboration much more efficient across teams. Achieve success in all your project management tasks today – try SaaS BPM now !

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MeisterTask is project management software that helps medium-sized Agile and remote development teams stay on top of tasks via Kanban-style boards, timelines, downloadable reports, time tracking, and more. While the PM software has several features to make it worth your while, we will discuss the following MeisterTask alternatives in this guide in terms of features, pros, cons, and pricing so you can shop around:

  • GanttPro , ideal for collaborating within small software development teams.
  • ProofHub , a full-featured PM software solution with an affordable flat pricing model.
  • Monday , a superb option for Agile development teams of varying sizes.

Before we get started, be sure to check out our MeisterTask Project Management Review to make sure you are taking advantage of all of MeisterTask’s features.

GanttPro Gantt Chart Tool

GanttPRO  is project management software that is based on Gantt charts. Small IT and software development teams can use the MeisterTask alternative to coordinate and collaborate all in one place without having to switch between multiple apps.

GanttPRO Features

Small software development teams can boost efficiency through GanttPRO’s features that are highlighted by:

  • Gantt charts and Kanban boards
  • Critical path
  • Workload management
  • In-depth collaboration

GanttPRO offers detailed task tracking with subtasks, milestones, dependencies, priority levels, and more. Tasks are tracked by default through drag-and-drop Gantt charts, but you can switch to Kanban boards for a different perspective. Stick to the Gantt chart view, and you can leverage the critical path feature to see what tasks are essential and must be prioritized for project success.

GanttPRO’s workload management view prevents you from overloading certain team members and stunting progress, and the software lets developers collaborate through comments, mentions, attachments, real-time data synchronization, and email and push notifications.

GanttPRO Pros:

  • Modern interface
  • Time tracking
  • Workload view

It does not take much to get going with GanttPRO, which is a plus for development teams seeking minimal onboarding. The modern interface is nice to look at and user-friendly, too. Time tracking out of the box is a plus, as is the workload view to see who has enough work and who could take on more responsibility.

GanttPRO Cons:

  • Light on integrations
  • Limited reporting
  • No free plan
  • No billing or invoicing

GanttPRO lags behind other PM software with limited third-party integrations. Its reporting only comes in the form of budget analysis, and some may find themselves yearning for a free plan. Those looking for financial features will be disappointed to learn that GanttPRO lacks billing and invoicing.

GanttPRO Pricing

GanttPRO’s four pricing plans  are as follows:

Smaller teams can pay $7.99 per user, per month for the Basic plan that offers the software’s ground-level features for project management. The PRO plan can help teams automate and streamline work for $12.99 per user, per month. Teams needing to optimize resources can use the Business plan for $19.99 per user, per month, while larger organizations needing enhanced control, security, and support can get the custom-priced Enterprise plan.

ProofHub project management software

ProofHub  is user-friendly, feature-rich PM software. Google, Netflix, NASA, and over 85,000 teams across the globe use this MeisterTask alternative to collaborate and manage projects, and its flat pricing model makes it attainable for budgets of all sizes.

ProofHub Features

Even the most demanding project managers will be pleased with ProofHub’s full set of features. Beyond its intuitive and user-friendly interface, advanced search, and custom roles, ProofHub offers:

  • File management
  • Online proofing
  • Task management
  • Varied collaboration

ProofHub’s file management and online proofing are a pair of features that MeisterTask lacks.

Those two collaborative highlights are not the only ways you can communicate and work with your team, though, as ProofHub also offers a voice announcement feature, online discussions with mentions, chat with direct messaging, and file sharing. And in terms of task management, the PM software lets you assign tasks to specific team members, divide them into subtasks, and prioritize which need the most attention.

ProofHub Pros:

  • Seamless task management
  • Custom reports
  • Extensive collaboration
  • Flat pricing

Unlike other PM software, ProofHub makes it super simple to manage tasks and ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Its custom reports give you a heads-up when something needs to be adjusted on the fly to reach deadlines, and the aforementioned collaborative features are tough to beat. ProofHub also has a flat pricing model that does not charge per user. This can make it surprisingly affordable for larger teams.

ProofHub Cons:

  • Project board customization
  • Integrations
  • Notification management
  • No free version

ProofHub offers customization with reports, fields, roles, etc., but customizing its project boards is another story. For such a feature-rich PM solution, ProofHub is light on third-party integrations. Managing notifications is a bit of a pain that can lead to distractions, and the lack of a free plan is another disadvantage.

ProofHub Pricing

ProofHub has a pair of pricing plans :

  • Ultimate Control

Both plans use flat pricing that does not charge per-user fees like many other PM software on the market. The Essential plan costs $45 per month for unlimited users and offers ProofHub’s core features. The Ultimate Control plan costs $89 monthly for unlimited users and is ideal for working with remote teams and clients and those who need custom access roles.

Monday.com Dashboard

Monday.com is beginner-friendly project management software that can serve teams of all sizes and types. It is particularly helpful for Agile development teams thanks to a variety of features that can allow them to deliver higher-quality products faster.

Monday.com Features

Monday.com’s intuitive interface, solid integrations with tools like Gmail, Zoom, and Slack, and time tracking are just a sampling of what the PM software has to offer. The MeisterTask alternative also has:

  • Customizable dashboards
  • Pre-built templates
  • Multiple views
  • Custom automations

Monday.com’s dashboards can be customized with over 15 pre-built widgets to fit your unique needs. The dozens of pre-built templates can help development teams get started quicker, and the multiple views (calendar, custom, timeline, Kanban, Gantt) offer ultimate task insights and project visualization. Project managers seeking to save time will enjoy Monday.com’s custom automations that come in handy with repetitive tasks.

Monday.com Pros:

  • Customization
  • Intuitive interface
  • Solid support

If you want control over your PM software, Monday.com gives it via custom automations, dashboards, and views. The intuitive interface makes it easy to get acquainted with all of Monday.com’s features, and time tracking out of the box, a feature many competitors lack, is a plus. Monday.com also excels in supporting its clients. The 24/7 chat can save the day when you are stuck, as can the plethora of video tutorials on using the software.

Monday.com Cons:

  • Task dependencies
  • Confusing collaboration

While strong in many areas, Monday.com is light on reporting and task dependencies. Collaborating with teammates via the comment section can get confusing in larger teams, and pricing can get quite expensive as you add more seats or try to access more advanced features.

Monday.com Pricing

There are  five Monday.com pricing plans  to choose from:

Individuals can use the Free plan to track work for up to two seats. The Basic plan offers project management essentials at $8 per seat, per month. The popular Standard plan provides collaboration and optimization for $10 per seat, per month. For $16 per seat, per month, you can streamline complex workflows through the Pro plan. And if you need enterprise-grade features for automation, integration, and security, the Enterprise plan with custom pricing is your best bet.

How To Select Project Management Software

How can you tell if project management software like MeisterTask or one of its alternatives is right for your development team’s needs? By reviewing several factors, such as price (is there a free plan or trial?), and ensuring that other features are included, such as task management, resource management, time tracking, collaboration, automation, various views, customizable dashboards, real-time reporting, third-party integrations, etc. And if you have a development team looking to grow in the future, make sure the PM software is scalable.

Final Thoughts On MeisterTask Alternatives

Although MeisterTask has helped many Agile and remote development teams unlock their potential, you may not find it a right fit due to sometimes high pricing, a lack of views and custom statuses, and a clunky mobile app. Give the MeisterTask alternatives on the list a strong look, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how they fit your needs.

Looking for more project management options? Check out our list of the Top Project Management Tools and Software for Developers .

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book cover for Displaying Organisation: How to Successfully Project Manage Your Exhibition

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"Displaying Organisation: How to Successfully Project Manage Your Exhibition"

"Delivering the Visitor Experience: How to Create, Manage and Develop an Unforgettable Visitor Experience at your Museum"

"Valuing Your Collection: A Practical Guide for Museums, Libraries and Archives"

For Immediate Release Tue, 05/23/2023

Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing & Media

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[email protected]

CHICAGO — Published by Facet Publishing and available through the ALA Store, “ Displaying Organisation: How to Successfully Project Manage Your Exhibition ” is a practical, step-by-step guide for new and experienced museum and exhibition professionals, as well as students studying to enter the heritage sector. Drawing on author Rhiannon Goddard's in-depth experience of managing a wide range of exhibitions and installations, the book breaks down the process of exhibition creation into easy-to-read sections. It covers not only key tasks but also explores the skills and knowledge specific to the museum and heritage sector, including:

  • defining and planning your project;
  • setting up a project team, assigning roles and responsibilities;
  • carrying out a formative evaluation and writing an interpretation plan;
  • the foundational skills needed to be a successful project manager such as budgeting, risk assessment, and program management; and
  • advice and approaches on how to tackle common problems to ensure success.

Goddard has been working in museums for over 20 years. Since 2008, she has been at Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) in the UK, managing the implementation of such major exhibitions as "Royal Style in the Making" and "Fashion Rules" at Kensington Palace. As Head of Public Engagement Projects and Business Management she has fulfilled the role of Project Director for installations, including "Superbloom" at the Tower of London for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Previously, she worked at the British Museum, with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and Somerset House. She has an MA in History of Design from the V&A/RCA.

Facet Publishing , the commercial publishing and bookselling arm of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, is the leading publisher of books for library and information professionals worldwide. ALA Store  purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library and information professionals worldwide.  ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman  publishes resources used by library and information professionals, scholars, students, and educators to improve programs and services, build on best practices, enhance pedagogy, share research, develop leadership, and promote advocacy. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a variety of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman at  [email protected].


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