Task Dependencies

Project Management Tips has a contributor, Dana Larson, who posted about features needed inProject Management Software. These include:

  • Collaboration
  • Task Scheduling
  • Multiple-Level Organization
  • File Storage and Sharing
  • Time Tracking and Reporting


There are numerous ways to collaborate, many are built into some project management software systems. Most all work in some way to keep people “connected.” IM, WebEx, email, VOIP, etc.

Task Scheduling

Dana talks about individuals managing their own tasks. Tasks assigned to the team members, who can create their own schedules based on their availability and due dates for their tasks.

This is NOT a project schedule. It may be a “to do” list. But this list and the tasks on it, can’t have any dependencies, or any critical dependencies.

This violates the fundamental of all project scheduling processes – there is no baselined control over the planned work. Imagine you and I have a dependency. I decide to make a change in the due date, because I’m not available next week to work on this task. So I’ll push it to the right by a week.

How do find this out? How do you acknowledge I’m making that change? How do I know my decision doesn’t impact your dependency?

This is the reason for the PREDECESSOR and SUCCESSOR fields in MSFT Project.

A really bad idea to allow individual to make changes to due dates and durations.


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