Program/Project Dependencies – Don’t Get Surprised

Program/Project Dependencies – Don’t Get Surprised


The Project Management Institute (PMI) publishes A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Third Addition. In this guide, Project Time Management includes “the processes required to accomplish timely completion of the project” (p. 123).

This sounds simple but, many Program and Project Managers have issues with missing milestone dates, or worst, the original due date on a project. Why? Other reasons may exist but, in my experience, one of the key reasons is a key dependency was not identified, in the creation of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), resulting in:  The project team being surprised, resources being reallocated, and * the project team not being able to recover the schedule.

Suggestions to Address

Understand and Document your Dependency Assumptions – All work activities associated with a project have dependencies and corresponding assumptions. Many project teams do not like to think about these assumptions and worst; most project team members do not like to document their dependency assumptions. As a project leader, strongly encourage your team to document their assumptions, no matter how trivial. This will allow you, and your team, to perform a sanity check for holes in the team’s assumptions. This technique will give you an opportunity to help the team “not be surprised” and save time delays downstream.


Project Management Institute (2004). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (3rd ed). Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.


Author Ira Hendon (MBA, PMP®) is an expert in program/project leadership consulting and protecting intellectual property. For a no-risk consultation, contact Hendon Group for more information and expert advice. Hendon Group is a full-service program & project leadership professional services & consulting firm, which focuses on helping organizations implement strategic and global initiatives.  To learn more and connect with Hendon Group, email us:; call: 866.201.0147; Or visit our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook business pages.
Hendon Group: “Better Planning. Better Leadership. Better Outcomes." ®