Dependency describes the relationships between activities and specifies the order in which they must be executed. Dependencies happen in all decision-making, preparation, and expansion processes and are ideally pre-determined. Tasks may be successors or predecessors to other tasks so that the moment of each execution can be adjusted accordingly. Dependency in project management is managing and scheduling tasks while considering the order and requirements of project tasks. Task B requires Task A to complete; Task B says it depends on the task. It occurs when it does not work without the help of someone or something.
Dependency directly influences product improvement and is simple in cross-functional product teams. Therefore, it is essential to clearly understand and plan it to not interfere with the overall product development.
Why Is Managing Dependency Critical?
If a Company does not actively manage its project dependencies, the project will deteriorate rapidly. For example, if a task is delayed and some team members are assigned too much next week unless other jobs are moved? What if a task did not start on time because something dependent on it did not finish in time?
For example, when building a new house, an inspector is scheduled to sign all electrical wiring at the end of the month. However, the Product team’s schedule is that the electrician will finish the wiring in the middle of next month.
If the Product Manager does not recognize and manage this dependency, the inspectors will come and claim the time and fail the inspection. If this happens, the company will have to reschedule the inspector for two weeks after the wiring.
Classification of Project Dependency
Plan dependencies can be divided into three categories:
- Logical thing
- Logical plan: These dependencies are driven logically and cannot be avoided. It is specific to the nature of the project and related tasks. For example, a Company cannot plant a garden before preparing a garden bed.
- Resource-based plan: It is a dependency caused by a limit. In other words, if the product team has more resources, their tasks may be faster or more likely to be accomplished. For example, if Company has a limited number of skilled professionals who can participate in a project, it may need to work on it in sequence.
- Preference planning: Best practices and convenience drive High-priority dependencies. In general, they are introduced into projects to emphasize the quality of the deliverables. For example, it may be best to dry the paint for two days and then paint it for a second time, even though it takes less time technically.
A common challenge arises when a dependency is tied to an external contributor. For example, third-party software may be a critical component of a product, or task dependencies may be limited and the completion process unpredictable. In addition, identifying it can be complex in the first place. When a project gets on track and becomes complex, it is essential to understand it.
How to Manage Dependencies?
While dependencies are inherently not a problem, reducing the risk of a problem requires a product planning-focused approach.
As the product’s functionality increases, it naturally grows in complexity. It is essential to know it for a product to be successfully developed, whether the development team is a startup or an existing company.
Creating a practical roadmap is one of the most effective ways to mitigate the potential risk of dependencies.
Visualizing dependencies asserts task management and timelines for any project schedule. Especially when leading cross-functional companies, it is vital to express affection levels by including dependency and status reports, such as product roadmaps.