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What is a dependency in project management?

Definition: Dependency is a relationship between tasks and activities in a project where the completion or progress of one task depends on another.

A project has many dependencies as it is a sequence of tasks leading to its completion. These tasks are linked in some way, making them depend on one another.

Types of dependencies in project management

There are five dependency types:

  1. Resource: Relationship between tasks that need the same resources. Two engineering teams need UI designs for their projects, but only one UI designer works at the company.
  1. Logic: Relationship between tasks that must be finished in a specific order. The development can start working on the website only after the design team finishes the website wireframe
  1. Internal: Relationship between tasks that depend on factors within the project. The team can’t deploy the product until its testing has been completed.
  1. External: Relationships between tasks that depend on factors outside the project that the team has no control over. The development team had to pause their work on the project because the client didn’t allow them access to the user database.
  1. Preferential: Relationships between tasks that aren’t necessary but would benefit other tasks. The development team would benefit from having feedback on a feature, but they can improve it without feedback.

One dependency can fit multiple types. For example, a task can depend on multiple resources and the completion of a preceding task. 

Task dependencies

In the example of tasks A and B, their dependencies can be:

  • Finish to Start (FS) - Task A must be finished for task B to start.
  • Start to Finish (SF) - Task A must start before task B finishes.
  • Start to Start (SS) - Task A must start before task B can start.
  • Finish to Finish (FF) - Task A must finish before task B can finish.

How to manage dependencies in Mindmesh? 

Create a new task by clicking the “+ New card” button in your workspace that will depend on another task.

Creating a new task

In that task's content, type “@” and start typing the name of another card you want to link to this card, or if it doesn’t exist, create a new card.

The linked card will show the link type inside the icon and create a bridge between these two cards.

Card linking in Mindmeh

Mindmesh allows for two types of dependencies between cards:

  • “Depends on” - The card can’t be finished until another card is
  • “Required for” - The card is required for another card to be finished.

You can also turn checklists into cards with dependencies between them by clicking the Tab on the checklist element.

Turning a checklist into cards

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Article FAQs

What is dependency management?
It’s the process of identifying the relationships between tasks or activities and managing them so that tasks are completed in the correct order. Managing dependencies leads to the project being finished on time and within budget, as there is no unnecessary task overlap or redoing tasks.
What are key dependency-related terms?
Constraint: A restriction that the project’s tasks must follow. The budget or schedule of the project usually dictates them. Critical path: The sequence of tasks that must be done for the project to be considered complete. Lag: The delay between the completion of one task and the start of another. Lead: The time that can be gained by starting one task before another is complete.
What are relationship dependency types?
There are various perspectives from which task dependencies can be looked at, from the time, cost, and flow perspectives.

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