What is a Dependency? Dependency definition, types, management, and FAQs.

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What is a dependency?

Dependency, in product management, describes a relationship between two tasks that must be executed in a certain order. 

If task A is dependent on another task B, it is imperative that task B should be completed first in order to begin task A. 

This situation frequently arises in cross-functional teams, where development in one area is dependent on the completion of certain parts of initiatives in a different area.

Thus, it is important that dependencies must be clearly mapped and planned to avoid any disruptions to overall product development.

Types of Dependencies

There are 4 types of dependencies:

  1. Finish to Start(FS)
    Finish to Start is the most common dependency between two tasks. It implies that a task should first finish entirely before the other one can start.
  1. Finish to Finish(FF)
    An FF dependency implies that a dependent task can only finish after its predecessor finishes.
    The dependent task’s start does not need to rely on the predecessor’s start. It can begin before, after, or even at the same time as its predecessor.
  1. Start to Start(SS)
    The dependent task can only start after its predecessor has started in an SS-type dependency.
  1. Start to Finish(SF)
    An SF dependency means that a task can only finish after its predecessor has started.

How to manage a Dependency?

Dependencies require a focused approach and in-depth analysis of a product to minimize the risk of any potential problems or issues. Effective roadmap at all stages can prove to be one of the most effective ways to counter any issues that could come due to a dependency.

As time passes, a product naturally grows and becomes more complex.

Identifying the type of dependencies at an early stage can help a team dodge any kind of confusion that may come with the product becoming more complex.

After establishing all the dependencies in a product, any decision about a particular part of the product should only be taken after an analysis of all the risks involved, taking into account all the other areas that the decision could affect.

FAQs

Q: What are some real-world examples of dependencies?

A: “Your website cannot be translated unless you hire a translator,” “Dinner can only start after the food is prepared,” “A concrete floor cannot start to be leveled unless the concrete is started to be poured”

Q: What are dependencies in software development?

A: A dependency in software development may be a requirement of a particular library for some part of code to be executed.

Q: What is a Dependency Matrix?

A: The Dependency Matrix is a compact way to represent and navigate across dependencies among components.

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