How to Link Tasks on a Project

ProjectManager.com

By linking projects you can more effectively task manage your projects, and in this PM training video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you how.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

Linking tasks on projects

 

In Review: How to Link Tasks on Your Project

Linking tasks is a connecting the logical relationships among those tasks, Jennifer explained. The why for linking is simple:

  • Provides an order for your tasks
  • Allows you know how to assign resources
  • Highlights the critical path in your project
  • Computes impact of changes
  • Allows auto-shifting

This provides you with information on the relationship types of these tasks and then, in turn, informs how you’re going to get those tasks done. You’ll need to create a project schedule network diagram, which includes these three items:

  1. Create activity list and cost estimates
  2. Reference resource calendars
  3. Include risk register

This overview of your tasks and where they connect is a proven technique to more efficiently get those tasks done on time and within your budget and resources constraints. It also highlights potential risks, but remember not all risk is the same. Read ProjectManager.com CEO Jason Westland’s article What Is Positive Risk on Projects? to learn more

Pro-Tip: Create “what if” scenarios to figure out what may happen if critical resource was omitted or added to the project, and see if this then takes away or increases the scope, budget, etc. Then you can implement these changes to your project.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription

Hello everyone. Today we’re talking about how to link tasks on a project. Well, to me, linking is one of the most powerful tools that you have to use when your project changes. So what do we mean by linking?

So linking is connecting logical relationships among your tasks. Why would we do this? It provides the order of tasks we need to do, what needs to be done first, when. It allows assigning resources to those tasks. It also highlights your critical path. Any lead time, lag time, and any float available on your timeline. It also allows you to compute the impact of any changes. It allows you to do “What if” scenarios. That to me is where the power lies, because you can determine what would happen if we removed this critical resource? What would happen if we added more scope? What would happen if we reduce the budget?

By linking your task and running these “What if” scenarios, you get to see how that would impact your project, and by linking them in the “What if” scenarios, it allows you to auto shift. You don’t have to do that manually. So you can run these scenarios quicker, and implement those changes to you project plan quicker.

So in order to do that, there’re several relationship types among the tasks. So for instance, for Activity B to start, Activity A must finish. This is called a Finish-to-Start Relationship. Here’s another scenario where Activity A and Activity B start at the same time, and that’s called a Start-to-Start relationship. And here, we have Activity A and Activity B that finish at the same time, and that’s called a Finish-to-Finish relationship.

So in order to do the linking, what do we need to look at? Well, this is a Project Schedule Network Diagram. This is what it looks like when everything’s linked. So you can see more pictorially how the tasks interlock together. So you can see the project starts, and then activity A, H, and K start at the same time. And you can see how the path of this project runs, until it gets to the end.

So in order to link your project, what do we do? Well first of all, we’ve got to create our activity list that includes our tasks, and the cost estimates for those activities. So we take that and then we also reference our resources and their resource calendars to see who’s available, and who’s skilled to do those tasks. You also include the risk register, so you look at different scenarios of what would happen, or what might be a potential risk, and that’s how you link your project.

So if you need a tool to help you link your project, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

 

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