A Complete Guide On Project Plan Dependencies


Project plan dependencies can be a frustrating challenge for any business. Whether you’re a start-up or an established company, it’s important to have a clear plan for every project – and that includes the dependencies of each project

In this guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about project plan dependencies, including examples and tips on how to manage them. Trust us, it’s worth your time!

What Is A Project Plan Dependency?

A project plan dependency is a situation in which one requirement or element of a project depends on the completion of another requirement or element. This can lead to problems if those requirements are not completed on time, which can create big delays and potential errors in the project.

One example of this type of dependency is when one component of a system needs access to data that’s only available after another component has been installed. In this case, the installation of the second component may need to be delayed until the first component is ready. The same thing can happen with people: one person’s contribution to a project may only be possible after they’ve arrived at work and gotten settled in their assigned office.

If you’re working on a project that has dependencies like this, it’s important to keep track of all those details so that everything goes as planned and no deadlines are missed. You also need to make sure that all participants are aware of any delays so that they don’t end up impacting the entire project.

Why Do Project Plans Need Dependencies?

A dependency is a term used in project management that refers to a relationship between two tasks or objects. It ensures that one task progresses as a result of the completion of the other task. Without dependencies, it would be difficult to track and manage progress on your projects.

Dependencies are especially important when you’re working on a collaborative project like a team project. If one person doesn’t finish their task, the whole team will suffer because their work won’t be completed properly. And, if everyone’s work is delayed, the final product will also be delayed. 

You can create dependencies by using checkpoints or milestones as your markers for when one task is complete and another task can begin. You can also use timelines to show how long each stage of the project will take. Either way, having dependencies ensures that everyone is keeping track of their progress and that everything is moving along smoothly toward the goal at hand.

Importance of Project Plan Dependencies 

Project plan dependencies are crucial because they help to identify the relationships between tasks, resources, and timelines. By understanding the dependencies, project managers can efficiently allocate resources, identify potential bottlenecks, and develop strategies to mitigate risks. Eventually, effective management of dependencies leads to successful project completion and the achievement of the project’s objectives.

By way of explanation, dependency is a condition or circumstance that makes one thing necessary for another. Dependencies are vital to any project because they tell us how one task must be completed before another can begin.

Project plans often include several interdependent tasks. For example, if the goal is to build a house, then there will be several tasks that must be completed for the house to be built: laying down foundations; constructing walls; installing plumbing and electricity; and so on.

If you try to complete these tasks out of order, then you will likely encounter problems such as incomplete foundations and insufficient electrical wiring—issues that may cause delays or even render your entire project unusable.

The reason why dependencies are so important is that they help us avoid problems like these by making sure we take care of all bases before proceeding further with our plans.

The Different Types Of Dependencies


There are three main types of dependencies: functional, temporal, and associative.

  • Functional dependencies occur when a certain action or event must be completed in order for another action or event to take place. An example of this would be the need for light to activate a photocell in order for the camera to take pictures. 
  • Temporal dependencies involve things that happen at certain points in time, such as needing water to reach a certain temperature in order for it to be drinkable. 
  • Associative dependencies happen when two or more items are linked together by a relationship, such as needing sugar in order to make bread rise. 

All three types of dependencies have their own benefits and drawbacks. Functional dependencies are typically easier to manage since they’re simpler, but they can also lead to problems if something goes wrong with the original dependency (like with the camera photocell). 

Temporal dependencies can be more complex, but they can also allow for more flexibility since events can be changed or rearranged without changing the underlying dependency (like giving water cold rather than hot). 

Associative dependencies tend to be the most complicated because they require knowledge about relationships between different items (like knowing how sugar and bread interact), but they can also be the most flexible because changes to one item will usually affect all other related items as well.

Types of project dependencies based on conditions 

Projects tend to come with many variables that need taking into account when defining their scope, which affects how they will unfold over time as they move toward completion stages; these include certain criteria called “conditions” that determine how certain phases must take place if expected results are desired outcomes upon completion date milestones achieved. 

Types of condition-based relationships (or “project dependencies”) can be split into three categories: ‘start-to-start,’ ‘start-to-finish,’ and ‘finish-to-finish.’ 

Let’s explore each one further below!

1. Start–To–Start (SS):

This typically means that one activity relies on another being started before its start date gets underway – meaning both activities cannot begin at the precise same time until the primary task has been launched previously. 

This works best when tasks related here build up towards a larger goal over a timeline since the later dependent step can only launch once the early initiating stage completes beforehand.

2. Start–To–Finish (SF):

The opposite situation occurs here, where starting phase first still dictates the order sequence. 

However, the finalization point won’t occur until the late stage concluding part finishes too – which makes ideal choice situations involving multiple steps necessary to reach all product items in both short and long-term contexts.

3. Finish–To–Finish (FF):

Commonly seen connected pair tasks require the latter to finish before the former concludes conclusively; this ensures proper workflow is maintained even in overlapping timescales involving two.

Every prudent programmer knows the importance of recognizing different types of conditional relationships between various parts given module purpose to maximize the efficiency quality produced.

What are the key dependencies in project management?

The following are the key dependencies in project management

1. Resource-based dependencies: 

Resource-based dependencies arise when multiple tasks within a project rely on the same resources. This can include human resources (team members with specific skills or expertise), equipment, or materials. Managing these dependencies involves careful allocation and scheduling of resources to ensure that tasks can be completed efficiently without causing delays or conflicts.

2. Logical dependencies: 

Logical dependencies are inherent relationships between tasks that dictate the order in which they must be completed. For example, you cannot start building a wall until the foundation is laid. In project management, these dependencies are represented through a work breakdown structure and are managed through proper task sequencing and scheduling.

3. Preferential dependencies: 

Unlike logical dependencies, preferential dependencies are not mandatory but are established based on the preferences of the project manager or team. These can be influenced by factors such as best practices, risk management, or simply the team’s experience. While not strictly necessary for project completion, managing preferential dependencies can optimize the project schedule and improve overall efficiency.

4. External dependencies: 

External dependencies are those that arise from factors beyond the control of the project team. These can include legal requirements, regulations, third-party deliverables, or even weather conditions. Managing external dependencies involves close monitoring and communication with external parties, contingency planning, and adjusting the project schedule as needed to accommodate any changes or delays.

5. Cross-team dependencies: 

Cross-team dependencies occur when tasks or deliverables from different teams within an organization have an impact on the project’s timeline or success. This can be due to shared resources, overlapping objectives, or interdependent tasks. Managing cross-team dependencies requires strong inter-team communication, collaboration, and coordination to ensure that all teams are aligned and working towards the same goals.

What are Internal Dependencies?

Internal dependencies are relationships between tasks and resources within a project that are directly managed and controlled by the project team. These dependencies can impact the project’s schedule, efficiency, and overall success. There are three main types of internal dependencies:

Resource-based dependencies

As mentioned earlier, resource-based dependencies occur when two or more tasks within a project require the same resources, such as team members, equipment, or materials.

These dependencies can impact the project schedule, as the availability and allocation of resources can determine when tasks can be started or completed. 

To manage resource-based dependencies, the project manager must carefully plan resource allocation, ensuring that resources are efficiently utilized and tasks are not delayed due to resource unavailability.

Logical dependencies

Logical dependencies refer to the natural order in which tasks must be performed to achieve the project’s objectives. These dependencies are inherent to the project’s work, and tasks must be completed in a specific sequence to avoid delays or rework.

For instance, in a software development project, the coding phase must be completed before the testing phase can begin. 

To manage logical dependencies, the project manager must create a detailed work breakdown structure and project schedule, outlining the order of tasks and their respective durations.

Preferential dependencies

Preferential dependencies, also known as discretionary dependencies, are established based on the project manager’s or team’s preferences, experience, or best practices. These dependencies are not strictly required but can help optimize the project schedule and workflow.

For example, a project manager may choose to complete a non-critical task earlier in the project to reduce risks or free up resources for later tasks. 

Managing preferential dependencies involves evaluating different scheduling options and choosing the one that best aligns with the project’s goals and constraints.

What are External Dependencies?

External dependencies are those factors outside the control of the project team that can impact the project’s success. These dependencies can include legal requirements, third-party deliverables, or weather conditions.

While external dependencies cannot be controlled, project managers can identify and plan for them, mitigating potential risks and minimizing their impact on the project.

External dependencies can be classified into several categories, each with unique characteristics and potential impacts on the project.

By understanding these categories and implementing strategies to monitor and manage them, project managers can minimize potential disruptions and ensure the project’s success.

Here we go to demonstrate some of the crucial external dependencies; 

Legal and regulatory dependencies

These dependencies arise from laws, regulations, and industry standards that must be adhered to during the project execution. Examples include building permits, safety regulations, and data protection laws.

Managing these dependencies requires staying up-to-date on relevant legislation, ensuring the project complies with all requirements, and adjusting plans as needed to accommodate any changes in regulations.

Third-party deliverables

These dependencies involve products, services, or information provided by external vendors or partners that are critical to the project’s success. Examples include software components, outsourced design work, or expert consultations.

To manage third-party deliverables, project managers must maintain strong communication with external parties, establish clear expectations and timelines, and monitor progress to ensure timely delivery and alignment with project objectives.

Market and industry dependencies

External market forces, industry trends, and competitive landscape can also impact a project’s success. For instance, fluctuations in material costs, changes in consumer preferences, or the emergence of new technologies can influence project outcomes.

Managing these dependencies involves continuous market research, staying abreast of industry trends, and adapting project plans as needed to maintain a competitive edge.

Environmental and geopolitical dependencies

Factors such as weather conditions, natural disasters, or political events can also create external dependencies that impact project execution. For example, construction projects may be delayed due to severe weather or supply chain disruptions caused by geopolitical events.

To manage these dependencies, project managers should develop contingency plans, establish alternative resources or suppliers, and closely monitor relevant events that could impact the project.

Stakeholder dependencies

External stakeholders, such as clients, investors, or regulatory authorities, can also influence a project’s success. Their requirements, expectations, or feedback may necessitate changes in the project’s scope, timeline, or deliverables. To manage stakeholder dependencies, project managers must maintain open communication channels, actively solicit stakeholder input, and be prepared to adjust project plans as needed to accommodate stakeholder needs.

Tools to manage project dependencies 

Several tools can help project managers effectively manage dependencies:

Below are the most paramount tools to manage project dependencies; 

1. Gantt charts: 

Gantt charts are visual representations of the project timeline that display the start and end dates of tasks, along with their dependencies.

By illustrating the sequence and duration of tasks, Gantt charts enable project managers to identify potential bottlenecks, monitor progress, and ensure that tasks are completed in the correct order.

Gantt charts can be created using various project management software tools or even manually with spreadsheet applications.

2. Kanban boards: 

Kanban boards: Kanban boards are visual tools that help teams track tasks and their progress through various stages of completion. Tasks are represented as cards on the board and are moved from one column to the next as they progress through different stages.

By clearly showing which tasks are dependent on others, Kanban boards facilitate the identification of potential bottlenecks and help teams prioritize tasks accordingly. Many project management software tools include built-in Kanban board features.

3. Project Calendar: 

A project calendar is a tool that visually represents tasks, milestones, and their due dates, making it easy for project teams to understand the project timeline and dependencies.

By highlighting overlapping tasks that may cause resource constraints, project calendars help teams identify potential issues and adjust their plans accordingly.

Project calendars can be created using various calendar applications, such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook, or integrated into project management software.

4. Task boards:

Task boards are visual tools that help teams organize tasks and track their progress. Similar to Kanban boards, task boards display tasks as cards that can be moved across different stages or categories.

By making it easy to see which tasks are dependent on others, task boards enable teams to identify potential bottlenecks and adjust their plans to ensure the smooth progression of tasks.

Task boards can be created using physical boards and sticky notes or implemented using project management software tools.

In addition to these tools, project managers may also use critical path analysis, network diagrams, and other project management methodologies to manage dependencies effectively.

By leveraging these tools, project managers can better monitor and control dependencies, ensuring that tasks are completed in the correct sequence and that project objectives are met.

How To Identify And List The Dependencies For A Project Plan?

Project plans are essential for any organization that wants to successfully complete a project. However, not everyone is familiar with the process of creating a project plan, which can lead to some serious problems down the line.

There are a few things you need to take into account when creating your project plan:

  • The dependencies of your project
  • The resources required to complete your project
  • The timeline for completing your project

By understanding these dependencies, you will be able to create a plan that is realistic and achievable. Additionally, listing all of the resources and timelines will help you stay on track as you work on your project.

How To Create And Implement The Dependencies In A Project Plan?

Setting Dependencies in nTask

Creating and implementing a project plan is essential for ensuring that your project goals are met.

A good project plan will not only account for the resources that you’ll need to complete the project, but also the dependencies that your project will have on other projects and resources. By understanding these dependencies, you can ensure that your project gets off the ground quickly and without any complications. 

Here are a few tips on how to create and implement dependencies in your project plan: 

  • Figure out what resources you’ll need from outside of your organization. This might include hiring new personnel, purchasing supplies, or borrowing equipment from other departments. 
  • Consider any potential dependencies that this external resource might have on your own project. For example, if you’re requesting equipment from a supplier, make sure you specify whether the equipment is required in perfect condition or simply usable. If it’s required in perfect condition, then you’ll need to factor in extra time into your timeline to ensure that it arrives on time. 
  • Identify any dependencies that your own projects may have on other projects within your organization. For example, if you’re working on a new software application, make sure all of the necessary systems are up and running before starting work on it. This way, you won’t run into any problems later down the road when trying to test or deploy it.

How To Determine The Priority Of Dependencies?

In order to determine the priority of dependencies, you need to first identify your key objectives. Once you’ve identified your goals, you can then start to prioritize your dependencies in order to achieve them.

The following steps can help you make this determination:

  • Assess the importance of each goal.
  • Compare each goal against one another to see how they rank on a scale of importance.
  • Choose the goal that is most important and works backward from there.
  • Consider any dependencies that are required for that goal to be achieved

Evaluate the impact of those dependencies and decide whether they are worth taking into consideration.

How To Manage Dependencies With Resources And Timelines?

In order to successfully manage dependencies with resources and timelines, you need to have a clear understanding of both.

Resource management refers to the strategies used to manage the availability, quality, and cost of resources that are needed for a project. This involves everything from planning and budgeting to implementing effective controls and managing risks. 

Timeline management is the process of ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget while meeting all required deliverables and milestones. It involves setting deadlines, tracking progress, and adjusting deadlines as necessary.

Tips For Resolving Conflicts Caused By Dependencies

If you’re working in a team environment, it’s important to remember that everyone has dependencies on each other. This means that one person’s absence can have a major impact on the rest of the team.

When conflicts arise due to dependencies, it can be difficult to resolve them because both parties are feeling trapped and resentful. The best way to deal with this is to first try and identify which dependency is causing the conflict. Once you know that, you can work on resolving it in a way that’s fair for both parties. This may involve negotiation or mediation, depending on the situation. 

Don’t forget: relationships are built on trust and mutual respect, and if one party doesn’t feel respected or trusted, then conflict will continue even after the dependency has been resolved.

Examples of Dependencies Faced by Project Managers 

The key to successful project management is managing the dependencies associated with it. 

Project managers face dependencies from all angles, from costs and timelines to resources and strategies. 

Here are some common examples of the types of dependencies project managers encounter:

1. Cost Dependency:

A clear understanding of the money required for a project, including budget constraints and funding sources, is critical for any successful project manager. 

Cost dependency requires factoring in financial considerations such as labor costs, material expenses, and technology needs into overall estimates and budgets.

2. Timing Dependency:

Timeframes are essential components within projects, but they can be difficult to manage due to changes in scope or external factors that could affect progress or delivery dates. 

Monitoring timing dependency includes foreseeing potential delays or threats posed by stakeholders or other projects occurring at the same time as your own to ensure effective delivery and execution of tasks on or off track.

3. Resource Dependency:

Effective resource management is crucial when managing any project successfully – making sure that you have the right team members with appropriate skill sets available when necessary throughout different phases being just one component. 

Resource dependency also involves keeping an eye out for potential shortages in skillset coverage needed per task list through personnel changes during development stages and forecasting supply chain issues before purchase orders have been placed for materials used in processes carried out within scope parameters.

More Expert Tips to Streamline and Optimize Your Project Dependencies 

An efficient project management strategy needs to ensure correct implementation, streamline process operations, reduce wasted resources, and save money and time associated with them particularly. 

However, it is not always easy to optimize, minimize administrative duties often overlooked, and become overwhelming and tedious, inevitably leading to errors and unnecessary complexities. 

Let’s look at a few expert tips to help you get the most out of your current situation.

1. Tracking System.

Having a reliable tracking system in place helps keep track of entries made, and updating plans enables quickly responding to changing environmental conditions in a streamlined way without having to waste effort going back and forth manually compiling data time intervals and constant monitoring.

2. Planning Ahead.

Reaching success depends on careful planning and preparation. Start beginning already knowing what to expect upcoming, keeps pace, keeping avoid surprises down the post.

3. Automating Repetitive Tasks.

A significant aspect of streamlining project dependencies is reducing the time and effort involved in repetitive tasks. Automating such tasks not only frees up time and resources but also reduces the chances of errors and inconsistencies.

4. Regular Review and Update.

Regularly reviewing and updating project dependencies are crucial to ensure they are still relevant and aligned with the project goals. 

Outdated or irrelevant dependencies can lead to delays, errors, and unnecessary expenses.

Is Kanban dependency effective for project management? 

Kanban is a visual management tool that tracks workflow and manages project dependencies. 

Kanban can be effective for project management as it allows project managers to visualize the status of tasks and identify potential roadblocks or dependencies. 

By tracking dependencies in real-time, project managers can make informed decisions and take action to keep the project on track.

Kanban can also help to improve communication and collaboration between team members, as everyone can see the status of tasks and dependencies. 

In addition, Kanban can help to promote continuous improvement by encouraging teams to reflect on their processes and identify areas for improvement regularly.

However, it’s important to note that Kanban is just one tool in a project manager’s toolkit. Its effectiveness will depend on how it’s implemented and used within a specific project and team. 

It’s also important to consider other factors, such as team dynamics, project complexity, and organizational culture, when determining whether Kanban is the right approach for a particular project.

Also, see:

The Best Free Kanban Board Software (Ultimate Guide)


How Do You Show Dependency In A Project Plan?

Dependency can be shown in a project plan by indicating how the work will progress and when each task will be completed. This allows other members of the team to know who is responsible for what when they should expect results, and what tasks are still missing. It also ensures that everyone understands their role within the larger picture and helps to minimize disputes or misunderstandings down the line.

When dependencies are indicated in a project plan, it’s important to keep updated versions available so that everyone can see where things stand at all times. Additionally, communication between team members should be extensive enough so that any questions or concerns can be addressed as quickly as possible.

Which Types Of Dependencies Are Most Common?

There are many different types of dependencies that can occur in relationships, but the most common tend to be emotional and financial.

Emotional dependencies occur when one person relies excessively on the other for their feelings or well-being. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as keeping all negative thoughts hidden from the dependent person, constantly needing reassurance, or becoming completely overwhelmed if things don’t go according to plan. 

Financial dependencies involve believing that living without a certain individual is impossible or unthinkable. This often leads to people spending more money than they would otherwise because they believe it’s necessary for sustenance and security.

Both forms of dependency are damaging because they restrict freedom and impede growth potential within relationships. It’s important to identify these patterns early on so that you can work together towards resolving them constructively.

What Are Dependencies In Gantt?

Dependencies in Gantt are important visual elements that help to organize and overview tasks within a project. When working with dependencies, it is important to be aware of the following:

1. The start date for a task must be after the end date for any other task that has a dependency on it.

2. If a task has only one dependent, then its start and end dates will both coincide with the dependent task’s start and finish dates respectively.

3. If there are multiple dependent tasks, then their respective start and end dates will not all coincide (i.e., Task A may have an initial due date of March 1st but its final due date could fall on January 31st).

How Do You Manage Dependencies Between Projects?

Managing dependencies between projects can be a challenge, but it is important to do so in order to avoid any disruptions or delays. You should always have a plan for how you are going to handle dependencies and ensure that everything runs smoothly. One of the best ways to organize your workflow is by using dependency management tools like Pivotal Tracker or Jira. 

These platforms help you track all the changes that are made to files, code repositories, and applications across different teams.

Furthermore, they also allow you not only to monitor but also to resolve conflicts automatically! This helps minimize the impact of potential failures and keeps everyone on track while avoiding unnecessary clashes and conflict resolution processes.

How To Track Risks and Dependency In Jira? 

Jira is a popular project management tool with various features to track risks and dependencies. 

Here are some steps you can follow to track risks and dependencies in Jira: 

1. Create a Jira project: 

First, you must create a new project in Jira or use an existing one. You can do this by clicking the “Create” button on the Jira dashboard. 

2. Define the project scope: 

Define the project’s scope, including its objectives, deliverables, and timelines. This will help you identify the risks and dependencies associated with the project. 

3. Identify the risks: 

Identify the potential risks that could affect the project’s success. You can use the “Risk Management” feature in Jira to create a risk register, which includes details such as the risk description, likelihood, impact, and risk response plan. 

4. Define the dependencies: 

Identify the dependencies between various tasks, deliverables, and team members. 

You can use the “Dependency Management” feature in Jira to create a dependency matrix, which helps you visualize the dependencies and their impact on the project schedule. 

5. Assign owners: 

Assign owners to each risk and dependency, who are responsible for managing and monitoring them. Doing so ensures that the risks and dependencies are addressed promptly and effectively. 

6. Monitor progress: 

Regularly monitor the progress of the project, risks, and dependencies. You can use the “Reporting” feature in Jira to generate reports that provide insights into the project’s status, risks, and dependencies. 

By following these steps, you can effectively track risks and dependencies in Jira and improve the success of your project management.


When you have a well-prepared project plan, nothing can stop your success. After reading this article, you will be able to understand the different types of dependencies that are crucial while working on a schedule.

Proper planning ensures high-quality output and allows for more time for fixing any issues that come up along the way. So do not forget to prepare one if you want to succeed in your next big project!

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