Creating task dependencies

In most projects, certain tasks cannot begin unless another task has finished. This can be difficult to manage when the project is complex and contains tasks that depend on the successful completion of other tasks. However, by using Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003, you can build manageable, flexible project schedules by using task dependencies.

Although the best choice for which type of task dependencies to use is usually obvious, there are situations when it's more difficult to determine the dependency type. Bonnie Biafore, a project management consultant and author, offers a series of simple questions that will help you choose the right dependency type.

You can also create dependencies between tasks in separate projects. This helps you maintain the relationship between tasks across projects, making it easier to successfully manage multiple projects.

To build better project schedules, you can use task durations, lead and lag times, and flexible constraints as tools to calculate start and finish dates for tasks. Then if anything in the schedule changes, you can quickly update the project information to keep the project on track.

The following information and tools can help you use task dependencies and other Project tools to create flexible schedules that will help you successfully manage your projects.

  • Choose the right type of task dependency (Article)
    Bonnie Biafore describes how to choose the right types of task dependencies to build project schedules that are easy to maintain even when your project changes.
  • Linking Project tasks (Training)
    Learn how to use task dependency types and lag and lead time to help you create flexible project schedules in Project.
  • Goal: Create relationships between projects (Article)
    Read how task dependencies between projects accurately model the relationships between separate projects and help you to manage multiple projects.
  • About constraints (Article)
    Read how to allow for optimal scheduling flexibility by using flexible constraints to calculate the start and finish dates of tasks.
  • New product plan (Template)
    Use this Project template to practice using task dependencies, lead and lag times, and constraints in a sample project schedule.
Applies to:
Project 2003