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Analyzing projects dependencies

Project dependency analysis in Project and Program Management

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Project dependency analysis in Project and Program Management

The following article is part of the self-preparation for the modern BVOP® Certified Project Manager program.

Each project requires an analysis of dependencies to prevent future problems.

  1. Why project dependency analysis?
  2. Program Management
  3. Who does project dependency analysis?
  4. A sequence of projects-realizations
  5. A sequence of external activities not related to actual planned work
  6. Usage of materials and tools
  7. Stakeholders availability and involvement
  8. Workforce availability
  9. External parties availability

Why project dependency analysis?

Analyzing project dependencies is an activity that aims to determine all the dependencies between several projects that need to be developed. When we work on one project and are not dependent on the work of other teams, products, or projects, we do not need to analyze dependencies. However, if we work with multiple projects and manage multiple teams, it is advisable to analyze the relationships between all teams, projects, and products.

Program Management

Analyzing project dependencies is applied in the context of program management, which is the management of more than one project at a time.

Who does project dependency analysis?

Usually, program managers and project managers are involved in analyzing important project dependencies. Dependencies may include personnel, tools, work environment, and external products and third parties.

About this chapter

This chapter is an excerpt from the training materials for BVOP™ management certification.

Dependencies amongst the projects need to be identified, described, and understood by the entire BVOPGM office and the Business Value-Oriented Project Management (BVOPM) office if they need to be aware of them. Major dependencies may include:

  • A sequence of projects-realizations
  • A sequence of external activities not related to actual planned work
  • Utility of materials and tools
  • Stakeholders availability and involvement
  • Workforce availability
  • External parties availability

A sequence of projects-realizations

The realization (development) sequence of each project may be crucial for the success of the entire program. If project “Y” really needs project “N” to be created first and depends on it, logically project “N” is created before project “Y”

If projects do not depend on each other, and the organization has enough resources, they may be simultaneously developed.

A sequence of external activities not related to actual planned work

Important external project activities that define projects’ dependencies may include:

  • Hiring professionals 
  • Training sessions
  • Materials and tools supply 
  • Maintenance
  • Sales and marketing activities
  • Procurement
  • Logistics

The sequence of all activities may be important.

Usage of materials and tools

Teams and parties may need materials and tools at the same or at different times.

Stakeholders availability and involvement

The availability and involvement level of stakeholders may differ. Different parties may be interested in particular projects and be available at specific times.

Workforce availability

The availability and the schedule of internal and external teams, consultants, or contractors may need to be considered in defining projects dependencies.

External parties availability

The availability of external parties like authorities, suppliers, providers, and supervisors has to be considered when projects dependencies are defined.

All defined constraints and dependencies between projects need to be taken into account in the program planning activities.

The following issues related to chapter "Analyzing projects dependencies" are included in the certification exam. The sequence of questions is presented in the table.
The data is current as of September 26, 2020, 12:53 am

ID Issue Time Category
0 Program Management 60 sec PGM, PM
1 External parties availability 60 sec PGM, PM
2 Who does project dependency analysis? 60 sec PGM, PM
3 Usage of materials and tools 60 sec PGM, PM
4 A sequence of projects-realizations 60 sec PGM, PM
5 A sequence of external activities not related to actual planned work 60 sec PGM, PM
6 Workforce availability 60 sec PGM, PM
7 Stakeholders availability and involvement 60 sec PGM, PM
8 Why project dependency analysis? 60 sec PGM, PM

Comments from the BVOP™ community

Annabel Wright

Defining dependencies between projects can be a very important activity that is underestimated by many organizations around the world. In fact, few project managers and program directors follow that.

Although this activity may seem resource-intensive, it is not necessary to analyze project dependencies to take too much time and to involve a large mass of people in the definition.

On the one hand, knowing the dependencies between projects really helps teams get the big picture. Planning becomes easier, communication will make sense at an early stage in project development, and the whole program and all projects are interconnected on the basis of dependencies. Teams know where to focus their efforts, project managers have an idea of where to look for the optimization of processes and increase the business value of projects.

I recommend analyzing dependencies to take at least the time. Target quick meetings, easy-to-use tools, and share your defined information. Involve program directors, project managers and only key roles from development teams to save time and nerves for your colleagues. We all know that long encounters and meaningless initiatives in the eyes of others lead to a decline in morality.

Comments of our guests
  1. Donovan Thomas
    Thanks for the post. Project dependencies and their analysis are a very important part of the strategy and the full planning of the program. Keep in mind that if you do not know the dependencies between your projects entirely, you can not make adequate planning. If you do not have a clear picture of the projects, let all the people involved in your projects know that you are at high risk.
  2. Anna Haruto
    When it comes to project dependencies, I cannot disagree that External parties' availability is a significant and important topic that has a severe impact not only on task planning but also on work processes. Delays are most often due to external partners and their quick and adequate responses.
  3. Kristen Frye
    After the topic of external parties is so transparently presented here, let us then and all of us formally point out the problems that outsiders can cause. At the start of each project, the potential damage caused by lack of communication and lack of commitment should be brought to the attention of senior management.
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