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A Comprehensive Guide about Task Dependencies in Resource Management

A Comprehensive Guide about Task Dependencies in Resource Management

Projects usually require multiple smaller activities or tasks, and each of those have their own task dependencies. All the tasks combined make a big project. Now comes the tough part. How do you prioritize this list of activities or tasks? How would you know what should be done first and how it that impact other tasks? Seems like a herculean task; isn’t it? This is where understanding task dependencies becomes critical. If task dependencies in resource management aren’t considered well in advance, then even if your project plan is comprehensive and well made, there is a huge chance of failure. Why? Because if critical dependencies related to the project are not mentioned in while describing the effort of the project, then there could be a significant risk to successful project delivery. Therefore, we can say that effective project management should start with the final outcome in mind. 

Defining Task Dependency

A task dependency is a correlation that various tasks have. In simpler words, if the tasks are required to be performed in a particular order, then there is a task dependency between tasks A and B. It means that the prior task relies on the one that is succeeding. Task dependency also enables to the determination of various conditions and guidelines for the execution of the tasks that are interdependent. For example, a particular task cannot begin until the previous one is completed, maybe completely or partially. 

Common Types of Dependencies

The most common types of task dependencies within a workflow could be as follows:

  1. Mandatory dependencies are contractually or legally needed in the project’s statement of work (SOW). These task dependencies are also termed as hard logic dependencies.
  2. Discretionary dependencies, also termed as soft logic, are not compulsory. However, how you schedule these activities could be influenced by the guidelines or best practices being followed, or the team’s preferences. 
  3. Internal dependencies help to determine the relations between various activities and tasks within the project.
  4. External dependencies depict an input required from an external source before a task can move ahead.

Though the above-mentioned dependency types are the most common correlations between tasks; there are some other ways in which tasks are associated with each other. Read on to find more.

Four Other Types of Task Dependencies 

  • Finish to start (FS) task dependencies 


One of the most common projects task dependencies, finish to start or FS dependencies refer to correlations where task B may rely on the completion of task A to get kicked off. If task A has not been completed properly then task B cannot be started under any circumstance. For example, you won’t be able to watch the new movie unless you buy its ticket first. 


  • Finish-to-finish (FF) task dependencies


FF task dependencies in project management refer to a situation when the successor task cannot be finished till the predecessor task has been efficiently completed. For instance, the foundation should be made well before starting the rest of the construction like building walls and ceilings.


  • Start to start (SS) task dependencies


SS task dependencies mean that it is not possible for the successor task to begin until the predecessor task has been initiated. In this case, two tasks or activities should start simultaneously. Let’s take an example here. A race cannot begin unless all participants have reached and are all set to go. 


  • Start to finish (SF) task dependencies


SF task dependencies are not used frequently, which means that the earlier activity can be only completed after the successor activity has started. As an exampleconsider team members working in a regular day shift who are unable to close their day until the team members working in the night shift report to work. 

Importance of Identifying Task Dependencies in Resource Management 

Here are the key three reasons for identifying your project’s task dependencies:

  • Enhances chances of timely project delivery 

Did you know that if task dependencies are managed well throughout the project, it can contribute to about 12% of project failures? Therefore, identifying your task dependencies in resource management is of vital importance for managing your timelines and staying on track. Once you list down all the project’s tasks and sub-tasks, you can then calculate the effort or duration required to complete each. The next step is to sequence the tasks or activities as per their dependencies. This way you will know that some sequences are expected to take longer than others and this longest set of dependent tasks is termed as the critical path. The critical path provides a realistic evaluation of project duration and is helpful in managing stakeholder expectations.


  • Makes efficient resource management possible 

Now, you will know which tasks should be completed first and what is the estimated effort or duration to complete those. Thus, allocating and scheduling resources will become much simpler and more accurate. Also, implementing an integrated, AI-enabled platform such as eResource Scheduler will help you to align your project plan, resource tracking, and schedule. Therefore, a resource management tool helps with managing task dependencies and staying on track with your deliveries.


  • Aids in risk identification and mitigation 

Though you may have done detailed planning and impeccable execution, not all tasks and risks associated with them can be in your control. There could be some external dependencies that can increase the risk quotient to the project timelines. Such unexpected bottlenecks or challenges related to task dependencies can impact your project schedule and add to the resource challenges. So, what can you do about it? You can highlight external dependencies to your team, stakeholders, and clients so that they are aware of any probable impact. You can also make some risk mitigation plans to manage any challenges in case they occur. 

Managing Task Dependencies in Resource Management with a Resource Management Tool

It is tough to manage your task dependencies in resource management without the right project and resource management software. eResource Scheduler is a top-rated, award-winning resource planning software that acts as a single online platform that your team members can use to store and share any vital information or data and for seamless project management. Not only that, this tool does time management, flags any probable challenges, and makes collaborating with distributed teams much easier and smoother. With this wonderful tool, you can easily establish, track, rearrange, and view your task dependencies by using the Gantt chart view. eResource Scheduler’s intuitive and easy-to-understand Gantt charts enable you to visualize your project timelines, monitor the critical paths, efficiently manage resource utilization, and your team’s performance in real-time. You can also create Gantt charts for multiple ongoing projects to ensure efficient project and resource management. Have any questions for us? Take a free trial today and get to know of the benefits you can reap by implementing this resource management tool.

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