Working with Dependencies

How to create, adjust, and manage dependencies

Updated over a week ago

If you're new to working with dependencies we suggest starting with our overview of dependencies and parent/child relationships here.

As you start to build your schedule and create relationships between different items, the Gantt chart will adjust based on the mode you choose for your schedule. Read on to learn about each mode.

Schedule Dependency Modes

There are three modes for how dependencies behave which can be adjusted within project settings.

  1. Auto

  2. Fixed

  3. Ignore

To choose which mode you want to use for your schedule, click the ellipsis menu in the upper right of the schedule and choose Schedule Options.

In the Schedule Dependency Behavior section, choose the mode you want. The default mode is the Fixed Mode. The current mode your schedule is in will be designated by a (Current Mode) label.

1. Auto Mode

Moving an item with dependencies will automatically reschedule all successors. The schedule will be automatically updated based on the duration and lag settings of items. This mode supports working days and will automatically reschedule items that span non-working days.

If you slide an activity such as a predecessor forward in the timeline, its successors will move with it.

In Auto Mode, moving a predecessor's dates back in the timeline (ie: the item finished/started early) the successor will remain in its prior position because it still meets the rule as a successor (taking place after, but not necessarily right after).

When you move an item to an earlier date in the schedule that has successors and would like the successors to also move back in the timeline, you can automatically move all of them back by right-clicking and choosing “Auto-Schedule” from the dropdown menu.

To always maintain this behavior without needing to right-click to auto-schedule, you can choose to use the Fixed mode.

You cannot overlap activities unless you manually specify lag, as the schedule will follow the rules you set.

If you want overlapping activities, you can specify a negative value for lag and then drag it over.

Transitioning from Auto-schedule to Fixed mode or Ignore mode

Minimum lag will not be applied when switching over to Fixed or Ignore modes, but retained for future use when returning to Auto mode

2. Fixed Mode

Moving an item with dependencies will maintain the space (lag) between all successors. This allows items to be more easily moved as a group.

If you move an activity forward, any successors connected will also move forward. Moving it backward will also move successors back to retain the original spacing or lag.

You can also drag activities to overlap each other. This may create negative lag, but will not overwrite any lag values stored in Auto mode.

Transitioning from Fixed to Auto or Ignore

  • Fixed to Auto: All items will snap to pre-existing constraint dates after clicking “Save”. Minimum Lag and Ignore scheduled settings are retained from before Fixed Mode was selected.

  • Fixed to Ignore: Minimum lag will not be applied, but retained for future use when returning to Auto mode.

3. Ignore Mode

You can freely move activities around on the timeline without being affected by dependency rules. You can still make dependency connections using drag and drop or by opening the item, but the manual schedule and lag settings will not be visible. This mode does not support working days.

Transitioning from Auto or Fixed

All items will snap to pre-existing constraint dates after clicking “Save”. Minimum Lag and Manually scheduled settings are retained from before Ignore Mode was selected.

Create dependencies

There are two ways dependencies can be created:

  1. Directly on the Schedule using drag and drop

  2. Within the Scheduling menu in an item

Using drag and drop

You can quickly create dependencies and create a predecessor/successor relationship right from the schedule by dragging a line between the items.

  1. Hover over the bar of the item you'd like to make a predecessor

  2. While hovering over the bar, click the white dot at the right end of the bar

  3. Drag the line to the item you want to be the successor

  4. If a connection can be made between the two items, you'll see a green "valid" note. Check out our Pro Tips for why the relationship could be invalid.

Using the Scheduling menu

You can also add and change predecessors or successors directly within an item in the scheduling menu.

Every item in BuildBook that can have a due date includes a "Schedule" section where you can manage the following:

1. What Phase an item belongs to

2. The item's dependencies - Creating a relationship between two items using the Scheduling Menu in the Task is done by opening an item that you want to create a relationship with and using the Predecessor or Successor portion to create the relationship. Click the drop-down menu for either the Predecessors or the Successors to add that relationship. If you want to add multiple Tasks as a Predecessor or Successor, you can do that from here.

3. Minimum Lag for the item - here’s a recap on using Minimum Lag aka lead time. (Minimum Lag settings are only available in Auto Mode)

4. Ability to Manually Schedule the item - here’s a quick overview of Manual Scheduling. (Minimum Lag settings are only available in Auto Mode)

Adding more than one dependency

As you start creating dependencies, you can add multiple successors and predecessors to illustrate the precise order of activities in your timeline.

Multiple Predecessors

Multiple items can be connected to a single successor as predecessors. For example, if a Task for Paint can’t begin until other tasks are completed like Scaffolding, Pressure Washing, and Trim Repair, you can set multiple predecessors by dragging the arrows between activities.

You can also see all predecessors that a successor is dependent on by opening the item. You'll be able to manage Predecessors and Successors from the Scheduling Menu in the Task modal and either click on + Add More to add additional Predecessors to the Task, or on the trash can to the far right of the Predecessor to remove it.

Now, whenever any of the predecessors for Paint are delayed, the Paint Task due date will adjust accordingly.

Multiple Successors

Alternatively, if there are multiple activities that all begin after a single task is completed, you can use multiple successors to illustrate the order on the timeline.

You can create multiple successors the same way other dependencies are created, either by using drag and drop or by opening the predecessor and clicking the “Add More” link below each Successor. You can also remove Successors by clicking on the small trash can to the very right of the Successor Task.

For example, if Insulation, Drywall, and Tile can’t begin until Inspection, you can make all three Tasks dependent on Inspection so that if the dates for Inspection shift, all three Tasks will adjust.

Using Different Activity Types With Dependencies

On the schedule you may see the following activities if there are due dates set:

  • Tasks

  • Phases

  • Selection categories

  • Payments

  • Change orders

Tasks and Phases are the only activity types that will allow you to connect together as dependencies. Selection Categories, Payments, and Change Orders all will appear on your schedule but will not be able to be created as dependent items. If you are waiting for a Selection to be chosen, a payment to be made or a Change Order to be approved to move forward with the schedule, consider creating an additional Task for those items with the specific information of what needs to be decided.

Remove dependencies

Dependencies can be removed by opening the item and clicking the trash can icon next to the predecessor or successor you'd like to remove.

Adjusting what Phase an item belongs to

Add an item to a Phase

There are two ways to add an item to a Phase:

  1. Open the Task and choose which Phase you'd like from the dropdown in the Scheduling Menu.

  2. Open up the Phase and add the Task to the Phase from there.

    Once you've added one Task to the Phase, you'll notice that + Add More highlights in blue to be able to add additional Tasks:

Remove an item from a Phase

You can remove a Task from a Phase in two very similar ways when you need to.

  1. Open up the Task and click on the "x" next to the Phase drop-down:

  2. Open the Phase and click on the Trash Can to the right of the Task name:

Pro Tips

  • If you delete an item that has dependencies, any dependency links (child or parent) are removed.

  • If a Phase is deleted, only the Phase is removed from the Phase. Items in that phase will remain.

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