A gantt chart is a visual representation of time that enables simple and effective project planning.  A particularly useful feature of leading gantt chart solutions is the ability to create dependencies between tasks.  There are 4 types of dependencies that can be created.  Finish to start, Start to Start, Start to Finish and Finish to Finish.  Leading project management software and gantt chart creation templates in excel can incorporate the use of dependencies.

Dependencies are particularly useful for the management stage of your project.  The reason for this is that schedule slippages can be automatically handled by the solution, meaning that you no longer need to manually update each task schedule.  The larger your project plan, the greater the time savings you will gain by using dependencies.

Finish to Start Dependencies.

These are the most common form of dependencies used.  This approach may be used, as an example when one task cannot start before another is completed.  An example of this would be that a honeymoon cannot commence until the wedding ceremony has been completed.  These dependencies result in a clear waterfall like structure in your project planning.  Assuming all tasks in a series have a cascading finish to start relationship, then if the first task slips by 5 days (ie, your wedding day moves out 5 days, then all dependent tasks will also move out by the same amount of time (your honeymoon will also move out 5 days).

Start to Start Dependencies.

This is where one project task cannot commence until another has commenced.  An example of this may be that you cannot turn on the hose until you have started to wash your car.

Start to Finish Dependencies

One task cannot finish before another task has commenced.

Finish to Finish Dependencies

One task cannot finish before another task finishes.

We have managed to build all these dependencies into our excel gantt chart templates, to enable users that may not have much experience with dependencies, but don’t want to spend hundreds on MS Project, give dependencies a try.

Marcus Tarrant is the Author of the Chartgantt.com gantt chart template.  These templates have been developed from experience consulting to Australia's largest organisations, but have been designed to offer a simple and practical structure for everyone from first time project managers, to advanced.

Why not check out our Free Gantt Chart Template.