In the project management context, dependencies refer to the relationships between activities. One activity is dependent on another when the other must be done in order for the first activity to be completed. In most cases the assumption for the schedule is that the first activity must be completed before the second one is started. However, this assumption can be overridden.
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- mandatory or discretionary
- external or internal
For example, it may be necessary to pass an inspection of the foundation of a building project before the next part can be built. In another example, actors must be hired before rehearsals for a play, and the scenery must be completed before the play opens.
Painting the interior of a building may be dependent on the installation of the dry wall. However, all the dry wall does not need to be installed before any painting begins. Depending on other factors (such as construction dust and where the walls are in relationship to other work) it may be possible to schedule the painting to begin a certain number of days after the dry wall installation has begun, instead of waiting for the dry wall to be complete.