The Ultimate Guide to Project Dependencies & Constraints
A project cannot be completed in a vacuum.
Projects are limited by and dependent on the environment where they are taking place, both the corporate environment as well as the wider environment outside of the company.
This article will cover everything you need to know regarding project dependencies and constraints.
Definition of Project Dependency
Dependencies for Scheduling
Project Dependencies Matrix
Upstream and downstream dependencies
Project ConstraintsWhat’s a project constraint?
Types of Project Restraint
5 Steps to Identifying Project Dependencies & Constraints Step 1: Create a Log Of All Project Dependencies
Step 2: Create an inventory of all project constraints
Step 3: Verify that the Major Constraints and Dependencies are in your Project Initiation document
Step 4: Make sure the Major Dependencies & Constraints are in your Risk Log
Step 5: Specify how you will monitor the Constraints and Dependencies
Project Dependency: A Definition
Let’s begin with a definition.
What is a project dependence?
Dependency: A relationship that determines the order in which tasks will be performed. Task B is dependent upon Task A if Task A’s start or end date must be met before Task B can begin.
Here are some examples.
You must have the meeting in order to send the minutes. The meeting must be present before you can send out the minutes.
Before you can install the roof, you must first build the walls. The walls must be built before the roof can be installed.
You should list dependencies in your project management documentation to ensure transparency and that everyone has the same information.
Dependencies for Scheduling
Before you can create a project schedule, it is important to understand the dependencies between tasks. These dependencies will help you determine the order of the tasks.
There are four ways to link tasks in project management software to create a schedule. These are:
Dependency typeDescriptionFinish to Start (FS)The most common type of dependency. Once Task A is completed, Task B can beginStart to Start(SS) Both tasks must start at the same TimeFinish To Finish (FF). Both tasks must be completed at the same momentStart to Finish® (SF) The most rare type of scheduling dependency. Task B can’t finish until Task A is finished. The task that comes before Task B is the Predecessor task.
The Successor task is the next task.
Yes, you can have multiple predecessors to one successor task and vice versa.
In your Gantt chart, enter the dependent tasks. Depending on which software you use, they will appear as lines between the task bars. This allows you to visually see the tasks that are linked. You can also enter dependency dates if you use a Kanban board for scheduling.
Once you have entered all the tasks and their dependencies, you can see the critical path of the project (the longest sequence of activities). The shortest path to complete the project. If you use predictive methods, this determines the project’s end date.
Are you looking for a reliable way to track project dependencies, and all other things that happen during a project’s life cycle? Get the project workbook that I use for my projects. It also includes a dependency log and ways to track risks, issues, and actions.
This is how a project workbook looks (one tab). The RAID templateProject Dependencies Matrix is covered in other worksheets.
Dependencies can happen inside and outside of the project’s sphere, as well as inside and outside of the company.
The following table lists the four types of dependency that can be classified this way. It also includes some examples.
Different types of project dependenciesIn-Company, In-Project: These relate to sequential project tasks. They are common