4 Types Of Dependencies For Project Activities
Dependencies for project activities may be characterized by the following attributes: mandatory or discretionary, internal or external among others. Dependencies has two attributes, but two can be applicable at the same time in the following ways: mandatory external dependencies, mandatory internal dependencies, discretionary external dependencies or discretionary internal dependencies.
Here are the different types:
#1 Mandatory dependencies
Mandatory dependencies are those that are legally or contractually required or inherent in the nature of the work. Mandatory dependencies often involve physical limitations, such as on a construction project, where it is possible to erect the superstructure until after the foundation has been built, or on an electronic project, where a prototype has to be built before it can be tested.
Mandatory dependencies are sometimes referred to as hard logic or hard dependencies. Technical dependencies may not be mandatory. The project team determines which dependencies are mandatory during the process of sequencing the activities. Mandatory dependencies should not be confused with assigning schedule constraint in the scheduling tool.
#2 Discretionary dependencies
These are sometimes referred to as preferred logic or soft logic. Discretionary dependencies are established based on knowledge of best practices within a particular application area or some unusual aspect of the project where a specific sequence is desired, even though there may be other acceptable sequences.
For example, generally accepted best practices recommend that during construction, the electrical work should start after finishing the plumbing work. The order is not mandatory and both activities may occur at the same time, but performing the activities in sequential order reduces the overall project risk.
Discretionary dependencies should be fully documented since they can create arbitrary total float values and can limit later scheduling options. When fastracking techniques are employed, these discretionary dependencies should be reviewed and considered for modification or removal. The project team determines which dependencies are discretionary during the process of sequencing the activities.
#3 External Dependencies
This involves a relationship between project activities and non-project activities. These dependencies are usually outside of the project’s team control. For example, the testing activity in a software project may be dependent on the delivery of hardware from an external source, or a governmental environmental hearing may need to be held before site preparation can begin on a construction project. The project management team determines which dependencies are external during the process of sequencing the activities.
#4 Internal Dependencies
Internal dependencies as part of dependencies for project activities involve a precedence relationship between project activities and are generally within the project team’s control. For example, if the team cannot test a machine until they assemble it, there is an internal mandatory dependency. The project management team determines which dependencies are internal during the process of sequencing the activities.
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