Managing tasks and dependencies with timeline

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This article delves into the nuances of setting dependencies, adjusting timelines, sharing your project's timeline, and exploring dependency date shifting options like maintaining, consuming, or ignoring due date buffers.

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Dependencies on your timeline

You can set dependencies directly on your timeline by clicking the connector icon that appears when hovering over a task and then dragging it to another task.

To draw dependencies on your timeline:

  1. Click on the connector icon when hovering over a task
  2. Drag the connector over to the task you wish to mark as Dependent on.

If the tasks in your project are dependent on others, they will show as connected on your timeline.

If there are no date conflicts, a task will be connected to the task it’s dependent on via a grey line on your timeline.

If dependent tasks overlap on your timeline, for example, if one task has a start date that starts before a task it is dependent on is completed, a red dependency line will show up on your timeline to indicate a potential conflict.

Zooming on your timeline

You can zoom on your timeline and view it by Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, Quarters, Half-year, or Years.

Sharing your timeline

Anyone with access to your project will have access to the project’s timeline. If you’d like to share a timeline with someone in your company, you can send them the link to your project’s timeline if the project is public by copying the URL. Alternatively, add them as a collaborator to tasks in your project if the project privacy settings are set to private to members.

Dependency date shifting

Dependency management options

There are three different dependency date shifting options to choose from.

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To access the different date shifting options, click the 3-dot icon in the top right corner of your project’s timeline view, then select Timeline options. The options are explained further below.

Note the requirements for auto-shifting due dates to work properly are as follows:

  • A task has been marked as dependent on another, either blocking or blocked by another task.
  • The blocking and blocked tasks both have due dates set. Start dates do not interfere with this process.
  • Tasks are not marked as complete. Changes in dates will not have an impact on completed tasks

Maintain due date buffer with lag shifting

Select Maintain buffer to maintain the amount of time between dependent tasks. This process is known as lag shifting.

Maintain buffer

In maintaining the buffer between dependent tasks, the due date of each task will move relative to the shifted task's due date while preserving the amount of time between them.

Consider the 3 tasks in the screenshot example provided.

  1. Choose party venue, due on June 1.
  2. Organize catering, due on June 3.
  3. Send out invites, due on June 10.

Choose party venue is blocking Organize catering, which itself is blocking Send out invites.

screenshot_title

With lag shifting, moving the due date of Organize catering back by one week to June 8 means that the due dates of both Choose party venue and Send out invites also shift by one week to preserve the gap. The 2-day gap between Choose party venue and Organize catering remains, though the due dates have changed. The 7-day gap is also maintained between Organize catering and Send out invites.

In the second phase of the example, moving Organize catering's due date forward in time from June 10 to June 9 has the same effect - the due dates of both Choose party venue and Send out invites move by 1 day to maintain their respective gaps.

Consume due date buffer with slack shifting

Select Consume buffer to consume the amount of time between dependent tasks unless there's a conflict. This is also known as slack shifting.

Consume buffer

In consuming the buffer between two dependent tasks, the due date of one task will not move relative to the shifted task’s due date.

Consider the 3 tasks in the screenshot example provided.

  1. Choose party venue, due on June 1
  2. Organize catering, due on June 3
  3. Send out invites, due on June 10

Choose party venue is blocking Organize catering, which itself is blocking Send out invites.

screenshot_title

With slack shifting, moving the due date of Organize catering to June 7 will have no impact on either of the other tasks, since it does not cause a due date conflict. Similarly, the buffer between Organize catering and Send out invites is not maintained - the 7-day gap becomes a 3-day gap.

In the second phase of the example, Organize catering is still blocked by Choose party venue. Moving the due date of Organize catering forward in time to May 31 will result in a dependency due date conflict. Therefore, the due date of Choose party venue must move forward in time to accommodate this. The due date of Choose party venue moves forward one day in order to respect the dependency, and receives a new due date of May 30.

Ignore due date buffer

Select None to ignore the amount of time between dependent tasks, even if there's a conflict. With this option, the buffer will neither be maintained or consumed. Conflicts between due dates of dependents tasks will also not be considered.

None

Consider the 3 tasks in the screenshot example provided.

  1. Choose party venue, due on June 1
  2. Organize catering, due on June 3
  3. Send out invites, due on June 10

Choose party venue is blocking Organize catering, which itself is blocking Send out invites.

screenshot_title

With None selected, the amount of time between due dates is ignored entirely. In the example, the due dates change and do not respect the dependencies between the tasks. Blocked tasks can still be slated to be completed before tasks that they are dependent on.

Weekend awareness

weekend-awareness

Use weekend awareness to automatically avoid scheduling tasks on weekends when shifting due dates of dependent tasks.

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