Planner Task Dependencies and Task Ordering

Iron Contributor

Something I'd like to add to Planner thinking is the concept of Task Dependencies. If this concept was added it would make ordering somewhat easier whereby it could order tasks in each bucket based on dependencies. Yes this would require some thinking in terms of manual re-ordering, but at least it would provide a somewhat better experience without having to manually re-order 50 tasks. 


Ordering is a major pain in Planner. I just created a plan with 42 tasks and 4 buckets (somewhat similar to Agile scrum boards). I created the tasks based on a proposal document from top to bottom. The first problem is that whilst you're working top to bottom in your proposal document, Planner adds the tasks in reverse order and provides no alternative method of adding a task to a specific position (Last, First, etc.). So for tasks 1 through 5 you add task 1 then 2 and so on, but Planner adds task 2 above 1, 3 above 2 and so on. 


With 40 tasks, what you're left with is having to shuffle the tasks around by dragging and dropping them one above the other. Painful! 


On top of that there are also random re-ordering issues which I posted about here

24 Replies

@vkngskier You can get the Gantt chart for Planner using third-party apps easily. 

@Jacques van der Hoven 

I like your view on this, my concern currently with Planner is that there is no "check" on tasks for completion because of the lack of dependant tasks. i.e. if you needed approval for example on a task completion like sign off on a document and the like, you would need something like a dependant task and also that the subsequent tasks cannot yet commence etc.

I agree. 100%

I arrived here looking for a way to plan with dependencies. All of my tasks are of a personal nature. I can't imagine planning ANYTHING without dependencies. These are real-life situations that demonstrate the need for dependencies.

I have to visit the jewelry store and design a custom ring for my girlfriend before making the proposal, but I could be making reservations or planning the proposal in the mean time. However, the date will be dependant on the date the ring is available.

Dental Implants:
I have to schedule a Pre-Op appointment with the doctor before scheduling a surgery date, but I need to visit the dentist for impressions and planning the implanted devices, before I know what type of surgery and implants I require.

Power Chair Maintenance:
My current power chair needs new tires. In order to get that done, I need to be out of my chair for several hours. I have a backup chair that I can use, but it hasn't been completely configured to match my current one, so that project just got bumped to the front. I have to have a few parts installed and I need to get that completed before those parts are obsolete. Before I could do that, I needed to order new batteries and install them, so I could even get the chair to the shop. After getting the batteries installed, the ICS switchbox appears to be malfunctioning, so I'll have to debug that and make sure this chair is capable of functioning, before spending 6k+ for the parts. After that's done, I have two different places I have to take it, to get parts installed. Either one can be done in any order, so their start dates are tied to the ICS switchbox debug end date, but can't be completed simultaneously.

New House Construction:
We are talking with a builder about designing a house. The design process has just started, but we don't have a lot yet. I need to be spending time researching land in our area and contacting land owners about possible sales. But we also have an appointment with the builders in a few weeks and we need to fill out their initial discovery worksheet before the meeting.

There are pre-requisites for almost ANY task. Then, if you have multiple things going on at the same time...

Power Chair Maintenance
Dental Implants
New House Construction

What's most pressing? Which one is waiting on me and which ones are waiting on someone else? What do I work on first?

This is an actual, real-life scenario that I'm looking for software to help me manage. Oh... And I'm confined to a power chair, with ready access to a smart phone, that is mounted on the arm of my power chair, in landscape orientation, using a RAM cell phone holder. So it would be GREAT if I could find an app that worked in this orientation.

The Microsoft Planner app interface is great and allows me to work from my situation. It's just missing the ability to associate tasks with a Finish-to-Start, Finish-to-Finish, or Start-to-Start relationship. There's no way to tell which task to work on first, or which tasks are hung up because they're waiting on another task.

@Loryan Strant 

a big issue in wanting to use each of those three tools for their rightful use is the fact that they are three tools and not one, not the same interface, not a one stop shop. I don't want to be browsing around to have a global view of my day/week/month


@Jacques van der Hoven 

I love your suggestion and created an account to add my support to the notion.


Until this feature is included, I treat each card as a summary task, and use the "checklist" feature to define critical dependencies of a task group.  This also provides additional progress context because the task shows the number of checklist items completed using the Board view. 


Of course, this workaround has drawbacks,  mainly the inability to define task data for items in the checklist (eg start/due dates, priority, progress, bucket.)