What are Predecessors in Project Management?
Predecessors and successors in project management describe activities which depend upon one another in order to proceed. These dependencies among activities will determine the order in which the project plan proceeds. Predecessors in project management are activities that must begin or end before a successor task can proceed.
Dependencies in project management can occur in four different ways and can have varying relationships depending on the task or project phase:
- Finish to start - Task A cannot begin until task B has been completed
- Start to start - Task A cannot begin until task B begins
- Finish to finish - Task A cannot be completed until task B is completed
- Start to finish - Task A cannot be completed until task B begins
Finish to start task dependencies, for example, describe a sequence of activities where one task must be completed before another begins. Another type of dependency is a finish to finish task dependency, where one task must be completed before another can also be completed.
Example of predecessors in project management
The most common project plan predecessors are those that require the predecessor in a project to finish before the successor can start. A simple example is when building a home, the foundation must be finished before the framing of the house can begin.
Visualizing predecessor types
One of the best ways to visualize a predecessor in a project plan is to use a Gantt chart. With Wrike, you can set up task dependencies, wherein the completion of one task triggers the start of another. This offers automation in predecessor and successor project management that will help your team move forward faster.