What is a dependency in agency project management?

Dependency definition 

In agency project management, a dependency refers to a relationship or linkage between tasks where the commencement or completion of one task is reliant on the execution of another. Dependencies play a critical role in shaping the project's schedule, as they define the sequence in which tasks must be carried out. Understanding and managing dependencies is vital for effective project planning and execution, as they directly impact the project's timeline, resource allocation, and risk management. Ignoring or mismanaging dependencies can lead to delays, increased costs, and potential failure to meet the client's expectations.

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Types of dependencies in project management

In the multifaceted world of agency project management, identifying and understanding the different types of dependencies is crucial for constructing a realistic and efficient project schedule. Dependencies can be characterized into the following types:

1. Finish-to-Start (FS): The most common type, where Task B cannot begin until Task A is complete.

  • Example: Designing must be finished before development begins.

2. Start-to-Start (SS): Task B cannot start until Task A has started.

  • Example: Coding can start simultaneously with the creation of technical documentation.

3. Finish-to-Finish (FF): Task B cannot be finished until Task A is finished.

  • Example: Testing cannot be completed until coding is finalized.

4. Start-to-Finish (SF): Task B cannot be finished until Task A starts.

  • Example: Support cannot be concluded until training commences.

Additionally, dependencies can be classified as:

  • Mandatory dependencies: Also known as "hard" dependencies, these are inherent in the nature of the work and are often contractual or legally required.

  • Discretionary dependencies: Also known as "soft" dependencies, these are preferred by the project team based on best practices or past experience.

By recognizing and carefully managing these dependencies, agencies can craft a more precise project plan, optimizing resource utilization, reducing potential delays, and ensuring that the project progresses smoothly towards successful completion.

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