FREE Inter Project Dependency Tracker
So what is an Inter Project Dependency (IPD)?
It is where Projects become so intertwined that one portion of one project cannot begin or be continued unless a part of another project has been completed.
Alternatively, it can be described as the relationship between a key event in a Controlling project and another key event in a Dependent project.
So why do I have to worry about IPD’s?
If you are running a programme or a portfolio of projects or programmes and you fail to manage your IPD’s your programme will, in all likelihood, fail. Having audited many programmes over the years, this issue comes up time and time again as one of the key causes of slipped timescales and cost over runs. All too often managers seem to have put Inter Project Dependency Management at the bottom of their to-do lists.
How do I go about managing my IPD’s?
Stage 1 – Set-up a cross dependency log on shared space and write a cross dependency strategy detailing the IPD management process. Make sure this process is incorporated into all your Project PID’s and Project Management Charters.
Stage 2 – Set-up regular Inter Project Dependency Management Meetings (IPDM’s)
- Put together a regular fortnightly project inter dependency workshop bringing together all your project or programme managers together.
- Put the IPD log up on a projector and assign someone (usually PMO manager) to act as the log scribe for the meeting.
- Ask each manager present to+6 list any NEW inter-project dependencies they have with another controlling project/s or programme/s.The scribe asks each volunteering manager for the necessary details to complete the attached log record (one row for each record). Each record will need details of the controlling /dependent project ID’s and or titles as well as WBS numbers from project plans so that controlling and dependent projects can track progress towards making sure that dependencies will perform when called on. Also, the tracking is important for the PMO project planner/s who can independently QA these dependencies. I frequently invite the planner/s to these kind of meetings where they are given the opportunity to question managers in an attempt to identify forgotten inter project dependencies.
- Ask the managers in turn to update the progress of all outstanding dependencies where they are the owners. It is important to note that dependency owners are always managers from controlling project and as such they responsible (programme manager accountable) for making these dependencies perform for the benefit of dependent project/s. Dependency owners for each dependency are asked by the scribe to update the progress field with all the actions which have been undertaken during the previous period in order to make sure the dependency performs when required. Alternatively the dependency owner might have no progress updates to make because the dependency has been delivered and is the record CLOSED, or the dependency has failed to deliver and has been given FAIL and is now automatically placed on the programme /portfolio issue log for escalation. Depending on the story posted in the progress field the scribe asks each dependency owner to assign a GREEN AMBER or RED dependency indicator.
These status indicators are defined as follows:-
- GREEN -Progress towards making sure the dependency will perform when required by the dependent project is on track.
- AMBER -Progress towards making sure the dependency will perform when required by the dependent project, has currently slipped and the dependency is in danger of not performing. However, the project teams are confident that within the 14 day limit they will be able to come up with a work around which will correct this problem and return the dependency back to GREEN status.
- RED -Progress to making sure the dependency will perform has slipped and is no longer on track to successfully perform. No work round is possible and as such this is placed on the programme /portfolio issue log and escalated in accordance with the risk and issue management strategy.
- Wash-up –This is where the programme manager summarises the overall programme /portfolio’s dependency status and performance using metrics such as:-
- Total dependencies which failed to be achieved this period
- New dependencies advised this period
- Number dependencies which failed to be achieved this period
- Number of dependencies escalated as issues this period
- Number of Ambers /Reds and Greens compared to previous periods.
If the Senior Responsible owner of the programme or portfolio is present this would be a good time for him to give a closing statement and to reinforce the importance of the IPD process and his or her intention to support the programme managers need to apply discipline where necessary to make sure the programme is a success.
If anyone downloads this template and finds it was of use or thinks it could be improved then please add your comments to this post.
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