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By default, tasks are usually linked in a 'Finish to Start' relationship (dependency), which means that the first task you select (the predecessor task) must end before the next task you select (the successor task) can start, and so on.This is typically represented on the Gantt chart by lines with arrowheads joining each task to its successor.
Here, we refer to such applications as Gantt applications.
Different Gantt applications have different features and capabilities: in the discussion below we describe some of the more common ones.
When you are scheduling a project plan from its start date the Gantt application calculates the end date of the project automatically, on the basis of the task durations, the task dependencies and the project calendar.
The possibility of linking tasks in this way is what makes project management software particularly powerful: you can change the duration of one or more tasks, add a task or remove a task from a chain of linked tasks, and all the dates are recalculated automatically so as to maintain the task dependencies you have defined.
The arrowhead indicates the direction of the link: it goes from the predecessor to the successor. In this case its start date is determined by the predecessor link that gives it the latest start date.
As dates and times change during the course of the project, the predecessor link that determines the start date of the task may also change.There are four possible relationships (dependencies) between tasks: Here each task has a single predecessor, the simplest arrangement. In such situations you will need to think carefully about possible undesirable consequences.For example, if you added another predecessor to the "Paper to printers" task above, it would be possible for that predecessor to push out "Paper to printers" so that its end date was later than the start of printing.For instance, a publication must be written and proofread before it can be printed.To achieve this, the Gantt application lets you link tasks so that they depend on each other.Gantt charts are widely used in business to describe and monitor all kinds of projects according to the rules of project management.In today's world they are usually created by computer applications, such as Microsoft® Project, Primavera Project Planner® and Mind View.Conversely, if a task is delayed, all the tasks that depend on it are automatically rescheduled, which may or may not impact the overall end date of the project.By using the Gantt display you can build and manage complete project plans in this standard, well-defined format.When planning the production of a marketing brochure for instance, you could use lead time to make the creation of artwork start a few days before the writing phase is over.The two tasks are however still linked, which means that a delay of the writing phase will also delay the creation of the artwork.