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How important is Dependency Management?

dependency management

Let’s envision a common morning routine that most people can relate to. Imagine that you have an important presentation early in the morning. You get up half an hour earlier than you are prone to. You get out of bed, yawning, and go straight to the shower. You come out and notice the day to be as beautiful as one would hope it to be at 8 am.

You go into the kitchen and brew yourself a cup of coffee. The oh-so-heavenly aroma is reassuring of a good start to the day. You get ready for the big day, call a cab, and leave for work.

Your Main Task for the Day is Getting to Work

Now let’s rewind. The main task here was to go to work. This means getting to your office is foremost dependent on you getting up. Now, sure you could have skipped one or two of the subtasks. However, the essence of understanding is that one task is dependent on the other. One task dependent on another is dependency management.

If we magnify it a bit further, for instance. Brewing a cup of coffee is dependent on you putting coffee beans and water into the coffee maker. Simple tasks as such are also dependent on an even simpler task.

Likewise, projects do not work through a vacuum and it is nearly impossible to find a task that is not dependent on one or more tasks except for the first one.

Whether the output of one task affects the initialization of the second task, or you might just have to wait for the resources to be assembled before setting up the task — understanding and pull through this is one of the most important assignments of a project manager.

When the beginning or completion of an activity, milestone, or task is dependent on the completion of another activity, milestone, or task, we call it a dependency.

In this article, our emphasis would be on the importance of dependency management and how project managers should walk through different categories and types of dependency rather than the project management tools to look out for.

Project Dependency

In project management, we need to manage and schedule the tasks while paying attention to their sequence and requirements to carry forward the project smoothly.

For instance, if task X needs to be completed to start task Y, we will say that task Y is dependent on the likes of task X. This is a simple example, although it can get complex in multipart projects with codependent tasks.

Some important terms that go along with dependencies in project management are explained below:

Constraints

In project management, constraints are as regular as a dependency and can be said to have a cause-effect relationship. These are the limitations that a project manager needs to abide by while managing a project.

Three main constraints that any project faces are the time, cost, and scope of the project. They are also known as the triple constraint.

Dependency management; time, cost and scope

Cost: Budgetary constraints of the project

Time: Projected timeframe for completion of the project

Scope: All tasks to be completed to complete the project

For successfully completing a project, the project manager must track its constraints and dependencies attentively and (re)allocate resources if and when needed.

Lead and Lag

Lag

Lag can be defined as the time duration whereby a said successor activity is needed to be delayed regarding the predecessor activity. Simply putting, it is the delay between two scheduled activities; for instance, if task A completes and there comes a delay before task B starts, it is called a lag.

Lead

Lead is a condition defined as the time duration whereby a said successor activity can be accelerated or advanced regarding the predecessor activity. In simpler terms, if the second activity is started whilst the first activity is still being run, it is called lead time. For instance, let’s assume that the time required to complete task F is 10 days, and it is 12 days for task G. On the 8th day of task F, we start task G; therefore, task G has a lead time of 2 days.

Critical Path

This series of continued activities that are chained in order to complete a project is called the critical path of the project. It is important to note that a delay in any task in this series can delay the entire project unless the gap is fixed through lead time.

Categories of Project Dependency

Logical or Causal dependencies are the inevitable dependencies, which means that they cannot be ignored. Consider baking a gooey brownies’ batch; you cannot start preparing the batter unless you have all the ingredients.

Resource-Based dependencies

They are instigated on account of the project constraints. For example, if two tasks for completion require a shared resource, then one task would have to depend on the other to use the same resource.

Preferential dependencies

They are the one sourced by convenience or best practices. Generally, preferential dependency only brings quality issues to the project, but they can be ignored to complete a project.

For example, contractors let the foundation of the roof soak in before laying tiles on.

Cross-Team Dependencies

These tend to occur when two or more teams are required to work to complete a project. In bigger organizations, this can pose a challenge.

External Dependencies

These are not in control of project managers as they are likely due to vendors or third parties for completion.

The following types will let you understand the relationship between dependencies:

Finish to Start (FtS) Dependency states that Task T cannot be started without the completion of Task S.

FTS Dependency management

Finish to Finish (FtF) Dependency states that Task S can only be completed when Task T ends.

FTF Dependency Management

Start to Start (StS) Dependency states that Task T cannot be started unless Task S starts.

STS Dependency Management

Start to Finish (StF) Dependency states that Task T has to start for Task S to be completed.

STF Dependency Management

Dependency Management

A practice used to identify, resolve, and use the project’s dependencies in a programmed manner is called dependency management.

Importance of Dependency Management

If the project dependencies are not managed in the right way or in time, the entire project can lose its integrity.

For instance, what happens if you don’t allocate resources right away for the completion of a task that is delayed because its predecessor didn’t complete it on time?

As a good project manager, you have to be fully attentive to the time frame and dependency of each task to create a feasible time frame. Unlike popular opinion, dependencies are important, and they help you work out the right course of the tasks.

How to efficiently manage project dependencies

  • Make sure that everyone on the team understands which dependencies and constraints are the most important.
  • Understand all the plausible project dependencies and constraints to identify a critical path
  • Prioritize the dependencies that have a major stake in the completion of the project.
  • Formulate contingency plans to make the project stay on track even if something goes wrong.
  • Managing a risk log can be helpful to cater to solutions for those risks.

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Effective Tips to Ensure Project Management Success

project management

The job of a project manager is a challenge itself, whether you are involved in construction projects or software development projects. There are often hindrances that threaten to derail projects. From managing resources to ensuring adherence to budget and keeping up with the timelines, there is a lot that needs the project manager to complete a project successfully. Here are effective tips to ensure project management success.

Project manager

Apart from the big picture, you will also have to understand the nitty-gritty, plan effectively, and evaluate the project performance at all stages. Embracing a project management software solution is a great idea.

You will have to combine it with the best practices and the right approach to get remarkable results. Although there is no single proven way to ensure success, here are a few tips you can rely on.

Know your Project Inside-Out

A strong foundation is certainly the mainstay of a successful project. The foundation is something that every project manager should consider as the top priority. To create one, you need to know the project inside out, right to the smallest detail.

Start by identifying the clients and stakeholders and understanding their expectations regarding the project. Developing a robust project plan is equally essential so that you have targets and timelines that you can follow.

As a part of the planning phase, you will also need to define the roles and the job responsibilities that you would want to have for the project clearly.

After all, you will have to onboard the resources accordingly. Finally, defining the goals and objectives is vital to get better clarity and understanding.

Planning is just half the work done. You will also have to establish measurable success criteria for ensuring that the project stays on track.

Identify Project Requirements

Once you have a clear understanding of the project and are through with the planning phase, identification of the project requirements should be the next thing on your checklist.

Only when you know what you need will it be possible to get the right resources on board. Build a team that is fully capable of implementing the project plan effectively.

Once you have the people on board, you will have to define specific roles and allocate apt tasks to them while keeping in mind their strengths, skills and expertise.

If you require a professional who specializes in a specific skill, consider hiring them permanently because they can serve as a long term asset to the business. For instance, you can have an architect on the team for a current construction process but use them for the future ones as well.

Knowing your team at an individual level is beneficial because these are the people who will take it ahead and ensure successful completion as well.

Know Your Team

The skills and strength of the team you pick have a significant impact on the success of a project. A good manager goes the extra mile to get to know about the inherent strengths and weaknesses of their team members.

The precise knowledge of the individuals on their team lets them allocate the right work to the right person. The single most important benefit of tapping into the strengths of the team members is that it ensures higher productivity.

At the same time, you can expect faster task completion, along with better time management as well.

With all the team members putting their best foot forward, the project has good chances of being a success. While capitalizing on the strengths of people is invaluable, you cannot deny that they will have some weaknesses as well.

Make an extra effort to help people overcome their weaknesses. But be tolerant and flexible enough to deal with errors and delays in the right spirit.

Strengthen Communications

Consistent and effective communication between the stakeholders and the client is vital to run a project smoothly. It is important to connect with them through the project.

Communicating new changes to the team members ensure that there are no nasty surprises. As a project manager, it is your responsibility to streamline communication between the team members. At the same time, you should be approachable all the time.

Make sure that any member can connect with you anytime and without any second thoughts. Lack of effective communication is one of the key reasons for the failure of projects.

You need to make sure that everyone is on the same page and has the information they need for making decisions and proceeding with the project. The best way to facilitate communication is by leveraging project status reports. These reports should offer the team members information about the latest developments in a project.

Well-Defined Project Milestones

Identifying the critical and defining moments throughout the journey is helpful for making your project a success. You can do it best by creating a project life cycle that clearly defines the main phases. The phases include initiation, planning, implementation and closure. Further, you need to evaluate the project performance and progress after every phase is complete.

At the conclusion of a project, it becomes important to consider the granular details of each milestone. With this detail, you will also be able to exceed the expectations of the clients.

Additionally, these milestones are reliable indicators of the team’s performance and the way they contribute to the project’s success.

Manage Potential Risks

When it comes to successful project management, you cannot overlook the role of risk handling. Every project involves evident and unexpected risks that can creep out of nowhere and jeopardize its progress.

It is wise to invest your efforts in identifying the potential risks beforehand. This will help you plan the effective measures to implement in the need of the hour.

If you have the right expertise and experience with similar projects, you will be in a better position to foresee the imminent risks and take proactive measures to prevent them.

At the same time, you should also be able to take corrective measures well in time. Organizations now understand the value of risk management and are taking a proactive approach towards it.

Ramp up your Project Management Skills

Project management goes much beyond managing your team and tracking the progress of the project phases; it is also about ramping up your skills so that you can do all these tasks effectively and efficiently.

Resting on your laurels is the last thing you should do; instead, you should always aspire to upgrade your skills and get better with time. Giving your best is equally important to make the project a success. While technical skills matter, the potential to deal with people also counts.

Only someone capable of bringing together people with different personalities and ensuring that they contribute in their own ways can drive them to deliver their best.

While you should go the extra mile to entrust the team with the decisions they can take, gaining the trust of the clients is equally significant. You should also be able to act as a bridge that communicates the expectations of the client to the team so that they can work together to achieve a shared goal.

Invest in a Project Management App

You may have all the traits of a successful project manager. But it is still a challenge to handle the entire lifecycle of a project alone.

Consider the volume of work and the number of tasks that are part of a typical construction process. However, you can rely on technology to assist you in enhancing the quality and ensuring a successful project outcome.

A project management software application (zepth dot com) acts as a one-stop platform for all the relevant information that relates to the project. There isn’t an end to the capabilities of a good piece of software.

The correct software tool can house all the files to documents and enable file-sharing for getting feedback from clients and stakeholders. Further, it can streamline communication and collaboration and do a lot more.

There are several apps available today, so you have the option to choose one with the right features. Make sure that it matches your needs and fits into your budget.

Test Deliverables

By now, you will have a proper framework and best practices in place for the success of your projects. But it is important to go the extra mile before the actual delivery. You can do this by thoroughly testing the deliverables at every critical milestone.

By doing so, you get a fair idea of whether the project is going where it is meant to.

You can also decide if you are close enough to the target outcome. Testing deliverables enable you to determine whether they are meeting or exceeding client expectations. Conversely, if you see fallacies, you can take immediate corrective measures to bring them back on track.

Project Evaluation

The final tip to ensure success for all your projects at present and in the future is to evaluate them.

Consider every project to be a learning tool. A good manager reviews the project holistically. The project manager will analyze each project on a granular level by reviewing various project components in detail.

A comprehensive review enables you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team and the process. You can see what led to success and what bottlenecks led to problems. You can even understand what you can do to prevent problems or issues in your future projects.

Conclusion

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned project manager, managing a small, mid-sized, or large project — these are the tips you can rely on to drive success for your team and the project as a whole.

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