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Chapter 6. Entering Scheduling Requirements > Understanding Dependency Links

Understanding Dependency Links

Usually some tasks in a project cannot start until one or more other tasks have finished. One common reason for this requirement is that a task might need to use the output generated by another task. For example, in building a house, the foundation must be laid before you can frame the walls. Therefore, the start of the task Frame the Walls is determined by, and should be linked to, the finish of the task Lay the Foundation. The link expresses the dependency of the framing schedule on the schedule for the foundation.

An inexperienced scheduler in this building project might just list the tasks in Excel and type in start and finish dates for all the tasks. But what if the scheduler later finds out that for some reason the Lay the Foundation task will be delayed? The scheduler would then have to go through the entire project, typing in later start and finish dates for all the tasks that will be affected by the delay. However, if the tasks are typed into Microsoft Project and dependency links are defined, the scheduler can simply enter a delayed start date for Lay the Foundation, and Project will calculate new start and finish dates for all the tasks that are dependent, directly or indirectly, on that task. The reason you take the time to define links between tasks is so that Project can recalculate the schedule for you quickly when there is a change in the schedule that affects the scheduling of other tasks.


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