Projects have a nasty habit of going off track, that is we don’t achieve what we expected to in the time we expected it. So here’s a tip to help manage our own expectations, as well as those of other involved and impacted by the project.
When planning a project we typically will spend considerable time working out what we need others to do on the project. We will assign tasks and discuss these with each member of the project.
When one person in a project can only start their task once another person has completed their task, this is called an dependency. If both are interested in the project being completed, or if the first person can only start another task once the second person has completed theirs, we call this an interdependency. One person is dependent on the other, or both are dependent on each other.
These dependencies are crucial points for the progress of the project. Projects typically don’t keep to their allocated time, because one or more people do not complete a task on time.
To help with this it can be a very useful tip to communicate dependencies right at the start of a project. When each person understands they have responsibility for others being able to start their part of the project, it can create a reasonable amount of pressure. This pressure can help members of the project team achieve their tasks within the given deadline. It can also help in making sure each person gives the work on your project the appropriate level of priority, compared to their other work.
Dependencies and interdependencies in projects are very common and communicating these at the start of the project can help the smooth running of the project and achievement of deadlines.