Discretionary Project Dependencies — What They Are plus Examples

Discretionary Project Dependencies

Discretionary Project Dependencies — What They Are plus Examples

Everything that happens in a project is interlinked and knowing how to schedule a project with this in mind is a process your project management office (PMO) needs to support. There are different types of tasks dependent on each other, and here we’re looking at what discretionary dependencies are and giving you some examples.

  • What discretionary dependencies are
  • Examples of discretionary dependencies in different industries
  • How to create a schedule building in discretionary dependencies

What is a discretionary dependency?

A discretionary dependency is when one task should finish before another one can start or be finished, but it’s a business decision rather than a hard and fast rule.

  • Expertise in the subject matter meaning you know a particular sequence of tasks is best
  • Industry knowledge that says doing things in a specific order produces optimum outputs
  • Internal business limitations such as wanting to avoid taking on freelancers where possible

Examples of discretionary dependencies

There are multitude of discretionary dependencies, and they will be determined by a range of factors such as how your PMO and projects are run, the industry you’re in, or even the training and background of your team.

  • IT and software development — when building a website or app, it’s unlikely to be an issue whether integrating a payment gateway or an email system is done first. It will come down to a matter of preference which one is worked on first.
  • Marketing — when putting together a new marketing campaign, whether the social media content is scheduled first or the email automation is designed first won’t change the project outcome. However, a PM might want to complete these tasks in a certain order knowing one can require more testing than the other.
  • Manufacturing — when the end goal of a project is to produce goods, there will be lots of physical limitations, but things like designing feedback and sending the product to be prototyped can be done in any order. It’s up to the PM to decide which will be first.
  • Construction — There is a clear logic to putting up a building, but things like wall finishings and floor finishings don’t have to be done in a certain order; it’s just sensible to do walls before floors.

How do I schedule discretionary dependencies?

When you create a schedule, you should plug in your mandatory dependencies first to ensure the sequences that are optional fit around them.

Working with discretionary dependencies

Understanding discretionary dependencies in a project takes industry knowledge of best practices as well as intuition for how your business and PMO works. Planning for them can be less demanding than mandatory dependencies, but they’re no less important to successful project delivery.

Related Posts:

Mandatory Project Dependencies – The What and How Plus Examples
5 activities you need to manage project dependencies
The 4 Types of Dependencies Your PMO Needs to Know
6 Steps to Project Approval and Sign-off to Close a Project
Keeping Project Managers Up to Date with Your Project Methodology
Role of Project Sponsor in Agile Project Management



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Pm Majik

Pm Majik

Evangelist of the Project Management Office (PMO)