Project relations or project dependencies. What’s in a name? Well, there is quite a difference and although one can argue it depends on the semantics you give the wording, we’d like to take you through the difference between the two terms and the relation with project portfolio management.

Project dependencies are irrelevant for project portfolio management

The term project dependencies is most commonly used to list dependencies within a project. Some examples: Task A needs to be completed before task that task B can start or task C can only start if task D also started. These are tasks or activities on which the project depends to be able to have a successful execution. From a project portfolio management perspective, this is irrelevant, meaning it is within the project scope and not the portfolio scope to be managed.

Focus on project relations

Project relations however, are crucial for project portfolio management. It defines if a project has some kind of dependency with another project. There are four different types of project relations:

  • Start to Start: project B can only start if project A has started.
  • Start to Finish: project B can be finalized if project A has started.
  • Finish to Start: project B can only start is project A has been finalized.
  • Finish to Finish: project B can be finalized if project A has been finalized.

In the project portfolio management process, it is important to understand these relations between projects. It needs to be taken into account in the decision-making process as in some cases, management cannot decide to execute one project while a related project will not be included in the portfolio. 

Evaluate your relations manually, not automatically!

Many supporting project portfolio management applications automatically adjust the project dates if the timeline of a related project is also changed. We strongly believe that this is not the way to go. Evaluation of the related projects needs to remain a manual activity to make sure people fully understand why projects are pushed forward or pulled backwards. That is why we, as Biztztracker, visualise the project relations with stoplights. It highlights whether the timeline is corrupted based on the specific project relation. If there are any red stoplights, there is a trigger to dive into the project timelines and make any appropriate decision from a project portfolio management perspective.

About bizztracker

Bizztracker is a SaaS project portfolio management application. We offer operational, strategic and financial portfolio management functionality to support organisations to succesfully execute their strategy. For more information, visit our website www.bizztracker.com

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