Do you have items on your board with due dates that are dependent on one another? Can one item not start until the other is complete? That's where dependencies comes into play! Dependencies can help create vital connections between items that are dependent on one another to help better manage projects in a more efficient way.
To start working with dependencies, you'll first need to add the Dependency Column onto your board. Using the Dependency Column, you'll be able to define the dependency relationships between the items on your board!
You can add the column by clicking the "+" icon to the right of your last column, and select "More columns". In the Column Center, search for dependency and click on "Add to board", as below:
As soon as you add your dependency column, a window will pop up prompting you to choose the mode in which your dependencies will work, as well as the time column which your items will be dependent on.
When it comes to the dependency mode setting, you have the option to choose between "Flexible", "Strict", or "No action":
- Flexible: Ensures no overlap between the dates of items that are dependent on another
- Strict: Adjusts an item's dates to reflect the exact time changes made based on the item that it is dependent on
- No action: Items will not shift automatically; they will solely display dependency relationships without making any changes, even if there is a dependency clash
The dependency mode that is selected here will affect how items will automatically move when any changes are made to the items that they are dependent on.
On the same window, you'll be directed to choose the time column which your items will be dependent on. You can connect any time column including:
If you have more than one time column on your board, you can choose one of them from the drop-down menu. When you have completed your column selection, click on "Save".
Define dependency relations between items
Once you've set up your dependency settings, it's time to define which of your items will be dependent on other items! This is important to set so that you can control how your items will shift when any changes are made to the items that they are dependent on.
To do this, start by clicking on a cell in the Dependency Column. A drop-down menu will open, allowing you to select any of the items on your board.
In our example, we've made every item on our board dependent on the item above it. For instance, you can see that our item "Conduct market research" is dependent on the item above it titled "Rebranding Campaign with new logo", and so on and so forth.
It's important to note that the Date Column or Timeline Column will not auto-populate after you set your dependent items in the Dependency Column. You must fill in your Date Column or Timeline Column for each item for the dependencies to work.
Once all of your dates are set, you will only see an automatic change in a date once a change is made in the date's dependent date, depending on the dependency mode that you have set up!
Watch the magic happen!
After you've chosen your dependency settings and set up the relations between your items, it's time to watch your dependencies come to life!
Now, when changing the relevant date or timeline column on your board, the dates of the dependent items will shift according to the dependency mode. Not only this, but when dragging items on the Gantt or Timeline View, you'll be able to really see the all your items move according to the ones that they are dependent on. 🙌
When customizing the way your dependencies work, you have three modes to choose from:
- Flexible: Ensures no overlap between the dates of items that are dependent on another. This meaning, if you change an item's date and there is no overlap between the dates of its dependent item(s), no change will be made within the date of the dependent item(s). However, if you change an item's date and there is an overlap between the dates of its dependent item(s), the date of its dependent item(s) will adjust so that there will no longer be an overlap.
- Strict: Allows you to use dependencies for project scheduling to ensure the most optimized timeline for a project (either with predefined gaps, or no gaps at all). Here, when changing the date of an item, the date of its dependent item(s) will automatically change in the exact same way.
- No action mode: The items on your board will not shift automatically according to the dependency relations that you set. The items will only visually display dependency relationships (through the connections on the Dependency Column, and with arrows on the Gantt Widget) without making any changes to your item's dates, even if there is a dependency clash between some items.
To make sure weekends are skipped, you'll first need to set this up in your admin settings. To do so, go to your profile picture on the bottom left corner of your screen and click "Admin". Within the admin section, under the "General" heading, click on the tab "Account". There, you'll see the option to "Hide Weekends" under Timeline Weekends.
As you set up the relations between your items, you'll be able to select the dependency type for each individual relationship. There are four dependency types: Finish-to-start, Start-to-start, Finish-to-finish, Start-to-finish.
Read on to learn all about what each of these types mean!
- Finish-to-start: Only once Task A is finished, Task B can start. This is the most common dependency type used.
- Start-to-start: Only once Task A starts, Task B can then start as well.
- Finish-to-finish: Only once Task A is finished, Task B can also be finished.
- Start-to-finish: Only once Task A has started, task B is able to finish
When managing projects with strict timelines, there are times when you can predict that there will be a certain amount of days needed to wait between project steps, or alternatively, some overlaps in different phases which are important to note. Therefore, when using the strict dependency type, you can make use of the "lead and lag" feature to define any necessary delays or opportunities to save time in a project plan right from the Dependency Column!
Lag: A delay between the dependent item, and the item that it is dependent on, i.e. a certain amount of time that must pass before the next step in the project can begin.
For example, there is a two day required delay between adding first layer of paint and adding the second layer of paint.
To add lag, simply click into the item on your board within the Dependency Column and add your number of choice. Here, a positive number will indicate a lag as so:
When looking at lag within the Timeline or Gantt chart, this can be seen as a gap between the dependent items, as shown below:
Lead: An overlap between the dependent item, and the item that it is dependent on, i.e. a certain amount of time which a step can begin in parallel with the step before it.
For example, at monday.com, there is a two day overlap between starting to develop a feature and finishing to design a feature
To add lead, simply click into the item on your board within the Dependency Column and add your number of choice. Here, a negative number will indicate a lead as so:
When looking at lead within the Timeline or Gantt chart, this can be seen as an overlap between the dependent items, as shown below:
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