Managing Project Dependencies For A Smoother Workflow
Managing Project Dependencies For A Smoother Workflow

Managing Project Dependencies For A Smoother Workflow


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When it comes to managing construction, it can quickly get messed up and complicated if general contractors do not have efficient systems. Construction projects are notoriously complex and made up of a million moving parts that need to be tracked. Most of these consist of many tasks that are interconnected with one another. Listing all the required tasks is one thing, but it is another to ensure they get done correctly so your project runs as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.

As a result, you must get a clear overview of your project dependencies that allow you to describe, see, and keep track of everything. This article will inform you about project dependencies, why they are essential, and how to manage them efficiently and effectively.

What Are Project Dependencies? 


Project dependencies in construction show how your tasks are connected. In this industry, it is critical to ensure each task is completed before you proceed to the next one to ensure its quality and timely completion. 

In a nutshell, managing and planning project tasks while keeping their needs and order in mind is what dependencies in project management are all about. For example, if you need to finish Activity A before you can do Activity B, then Activity B is dependent on Activity A. This may seem easy at first, but things can get messy in big projects, especially with many interconnected steps that rely on each other.

Finding, plotting, and managing dependencies are probably among the most important yet time-consuming parts of project management. However, you must be able to keep a close eye on these connections to ensure they go according to plan and allow teams to finish their work correctly and quickly. 


Two Essential Terms in Project Dependencies


There are two essential terms that you need to know when discussing project requirements.


A predecessor is a task that needs to be done before another task can begin or end. If this is not yet completed, you cannot proceed to the next task in your workflow. In other words, it might prevent other functions from beginning or ending.


A successor, on the other hand, is an activity that comes after another activity. In other words, it is a task waiting for different tasks to begin or end. 

A predecessor can have more than one direct successor activity, and a successor can have more than one predecessor activity. You must be able to map out your activities from start to finish to see which tasks depend on one another. Monitoring them throughout the job is essential to ensure everything goes smoothly.


What Are The Five Main Types of Project Dependencies?


In project management, there are six main types of dependencies: logic, resource, preferential, cross-team, and external. In this section, let us try to define each one. 

Logic Dependencies

If two tasks are logically dependent, one job must be finished before the other begins. For example, you must lay the foundations before putting in bricks. Similarly, it would help to put in bricks before you can lay out your systems.

Resource Dependencies

Sometimes, one task needs a resource, like the same team member, tools, or software, available when another task is finished. This is called a resource dependency. A painter cannot paint a specific area without completing the walls. 

Preferencial Dependencies

If some stakeholders or team members prefer one job to another, this is a preferential dependency. For instance, as a project manager handling multiple projects simultaneously, you might find yourself prioritizing some tasks over others. This happens even if those tasks depend entirely on each other.

Cross-Team Dependencies

There are times when the work of one team rests on the work of another team or department. This is called cross-team dependencies. For example, the structural team must lay out the rebars before the concreting team can pour the foundation. 

External Dependencies

External dependencies are things that the project team can keep the same, like the weather, government rules, or the lawmakers. For instance, it would help to have good weather to pour cement in a particular area. If not, you may not be able to proceed with the work or risk reworking some tasks. 


What Are The Four Types of Relationship Job Dependencies?


Projects can have many dependencies, and the way tasks relate to each other can change from one project step to the next. In this section, let us talk about the four main types. 


If Activity A is the predecessor, Activity B can only begin once Activity A is finished. For example, you can only build the walls of a house once the supports are done. 


In this case, Activity B can start when Activity A starts. For example, you can begin installing windows at the same time you are installing doors in a home. 


Activity B cannot end until Activity A, which came before it, has also ended. For example, when an electrician wires a new house, the QA testing can only end once all the lines and systems are in place.


In this arrangement, the predecessor’s job controls the end of the successor after it. In this case, you can only finish paying the customer once the sales process has started, which means they have agreed to buy.

How To Map Out Dependencies


In project management, to find the project dependencies, you must look at how the activities are related and figure out which ones must be finished before others can begin or end. You need to identify your predecessors and successors. Here, we have listed some ways to find tasks that depend on each other. 

Review The Project’s Goals and Scope

Knowing these can help you determine what tasks must be done and in what order.

Plan Your Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

A WBS organizes the project’s parts to be easier to handle. It is a roadmap where project managers can see how the project should be able to progress. You can use it to find activities and see how they depend on each other.

Finalize Your Schedules and Milestones

Look at the project schedule. It can help you determine which chores must be done before they can be done.

Consult Subject Matter Experts

Based on their knowledge and experience, an SME can provide information about the jobs and how they depend on each other.

Utilize Project Management Software

Various software, such as construction crew scheduling software, can help you get a good overview of what is happening in your project. Software can help you determine how tasks depend on each other, create a picture of the project plan, and how to assign your resources. 


Why Are Project Dependencies Critical to Success?


In this section, we listed three benefits of efficiently managing project dependencies. 

On-Time Completion

Most project failures are caused by poor management of job dependencies throughout the project timeline. Understanding how tasks depend on each other is vital to making and managing the project plan.

Once a team knows what jobs must be done for the project, they can get a rough idea of how long each one will take. You will notice that some sequences are longer after arranging the jobs based on their dependencies. Finding your critical path, the longest chain of employment can give you a good idea of how long a project will take and help you keep everyone on track. 

Easier Resource Management 

It is much easier to assign resources once you know what jobs must be done and how long they are expected to take. You can use various technologies like crew planning software to keep track of your resources and assign them wherever needed. 

Risk Management

It is too bad that not all project tasks rely on things the project team can change. Dependencies on outside sources can make the project plan much less specific. Unexpected bottlenecks caused by task dependencies annoy project managers and team members. They can also make it hard to meet deadlines and use resources.


Tips on How to Manage Project Dependencies


Here are some ways to keep track of your project’s needs. Dependencies are like many other problems in project management in that there is no set way to solve them. How you deal with them will depend on the needs and circumstances of the job.

Find and Write Down Your Project Dependencies

Look at possible project dependencies and write down what kind they are, what they do, when they need to be done, and who owns them. From there, put your dependencies into groups based on their dependency types, such as external, logical, preferential, resource, cross-team, or preference. This way, you will know how to manage better and plan strategies. 

Visualize Your Project Dependencies

Use project management tools to visualize the project schedule and how tasks depend on each other. You can create a simple roadmap or Gantt chart to show the beginning and end. Try to reduce your project dependencies to create a more seamless plan. You can do this by simplifying the project plan, splitting tasks into smaller parts, and eliminating unnecessary tasks.

Communicate With Your Stakeholders

Set up straightforward ways for team members to talk to each other so that everyone knows how the requirements affect the project.

Reduce Risks

Monitor relationships as the project progresses and plan for what could go wrong by listing possible risks and creating a plan to reduce them.

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