Predecessors establish task dependencies, determine project sequencing, and contribute to the overall project schedule. Effective predecessor management involves clear communication, collaboration, and regular reporting on progress. It also requires an understanding of the different types of predecessor relationships. This article defines what is a predecessor in project management and provides an overview of the five task dependency types supported by Adobe Workfront.

In project management, a predecessor is an activity that must finish before another activity can begin. Typically, the activity must be completed for technical, organizational, or methodological reasons. For example, if you are building a house and need to mix concrete before pouring the foundation slab, you must complete this first activity in order to begin erecting the walls. This is an example of a finish-to-start predecessor relationship (Figure 10.3).

Similarly, if you are installing software in a company and employees need training to use it, the software installation cannot start until the employee training is completed. This is an example of a start-to-finish predecessor relationship (Figure 10.4).

Within a single project, you can create multiple predecessor relationships and choose whether to enforce these. You can also create cross-project predecessors between tasks in two or more projects. You can use the arrows in a network diagram to display these relationships. In addition, the “Predecessor” column in the task list displays the predecessor task information. The column shows the type of predecessor, a link to the parent task, and the planned start date and duration for the successor.