Predecessor actions or Dependencies are the previous actions needed in order to carry out other actions, so those successor actions are held in abeyance until their accomplishment. They may be delegated tasks someone else has to complete before you can play your part in a project, external events to which the action is linked and must happen for the action to take place, or just other actions from your list. That is, any item conditioning another one’s possibility of execution.
You can define this kind of dependencies in FacileThings by assigning a predecessor action to any next action. When you do this, the next action will disappear from the Next Actions list until the action you’ve defined as its predecessor is done (or trashed).
The predecessor action can be anything: a next action, an event or action that is on the Calendar, or a delegated task that is on the Waiting For list. Also, the predecessor action can belong to the same project as the successor action, to a different project, or to no project at all. This allows you to link any two actions from your inventory.
If you try to edit any item, you will see a more menu on the top right, which contains the set predecessor option.
When you click on this option, an action search box will appear. You only have to write some word of the text of the action that you need to find. If several actions appear, you can filter the result according to the list they are in (Next Actions, Calendar, Waiting For) or the project they belong to.
Once you have located the correct action, select it and click the Set button. The selection window will close and you will see a message at the top of the task editor indicating that the action is now blocked by the action you assigned as its predecessor.
Since this action cannot be executed until the predecessor is done, it will now not appear in the Next Actions list. How can you find it to make changes or even remove the dependency if it is no longer needed? Very simple, within the list of Next Actions there is a sublist of Blocked Actions that you can access by clicking on the “Blocked Actions” checkbox:
To remove the dependency, edit a blocked action, enter the more menu and click on the remove predecessor option.
This option allows you to set all kinds of dependencies, for example:
- An action that cannot be carried out until a material arrives or someone finishes a previous step (actions that you will have on your Waiting For list).
- An action that cannot be carried out until a certain event (which you will have on your calendar) takes place.
- A project that cannot start until another project finishes (just assign the last action in one project as the predecessor to the first action in another project).
- A side project that cannot start until the third action of another project is executed, etc.
It is possible to assign the same predecessor to multiple actions, although it is not possible (at the moment) to make an action dependent on several predecessors.
If an action that has a predecessor assigned is moved out of the Next Actions list, the dependency will be automatically removed.
You can also assign a dependency to any action in the Clarify stage. It works exactly the same as in action lists. Just keep in mind that if you assign a dependency and then don’t clarify the element as a Next Action, the dependency will be removed. These dependencies only make sense if they apply to next actions.