Dependency Charts

I have brought together a collection of videos on creating dependency charts. I put these together for my university teaching. These videos should help any project manager to understand task dependencies. This blog should help answer the question “What is a Dependency Chart?”, and “How to use Dependency Charts as a Project Manager?”

The first thing to note is that there are two main types of dependency charts. Activity on Arrow (AoA), and Activity on Node (AoN). This is explained in the first video.

Fundamentals of Dependency Charts

This video (under 6 minutes) explains the fundamentals of what a dependency chart is, and the two different types, AoA and AoN.

Although this covers the basics, there are several complications. The first occurs when tasks do not start immediately when the preceding task finishes.

Lead and Lag

When tasks do not start immediately on the finish of the predecessor, Lead or Lag is involved. This short 3 minute video explains.

This is probably enough for most project managers. However, the “Finish to Start” relationship is just one type of task relationship.

Relationship Types

Apart from the “Start to Finish” relationship, there are three others relationship types. At under 4 minutes this short clip explains all relationship types, with lead and lag.

In reality, most dependency situations can be created with a simple “Finish to Start” relationship with the appropriate Lead and Lag added.

Example Dependency Chart

Here is a short example that I created to accustom students to the examination question format that I used.

Tools for Creating Dependency Charts

In my teaching I tend to use PowerPoint with connectors to create a dependency chart. Microsoft Visio probably helps as well. Microsoft project can show a dependency chart view.

However I think the best method is to get the team talking and communicating by using sticky notes and moving them around whilst talking and discussing.

People deliver projects, and getting the people to own the project plan is a vital step towards a successful project.

Posted On: 2nd March 2020

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