Understanding universal dependencies

No matter what type of roadmap you have, you have likely encountered dependencies at some point in time.

Creating relationships and highlighting dependencies early in the planning process ensures that your team is clear on exactly what needs to get done, who is doing what, and when it needs to be finished.

A dependency is typically defined as something that must be completed before other work can be done. In other words, 'feature B' is dependent on 'feature A' being completed before work can begin on "feature B".

These types of dependencies can easily be created on the Releases Roadmap view by hovering over 'feature A' until a dot appears, grabbing it with your mouse and dragging it to 'feature B'. It is quite simple and straightforward to craft these dependencies.

What about those times when a feature dependency does not quite give you the relationship you wish to represent? How you define your feature relationships is subjective, and this means that you need flexibility in how you can represent these complex relationships.

Relationships aren't just for features

Feature dependencies can be straightforward. These are available via the Actions menu in each feature, thus creating a link between two features that shows a relationship which you can track, manage and report.

But what happens when your feature depends upon a release to be put into production, or your initiative relies on a colleague's initiative to be completed?

This is where universal dependencies come into play.

Example: Strategic dependencies

Imagine the scenario where your company has a strategic initiative to increase e-commerce opportunities globally, and your product plays an integration part in that effort. You would likely create a strategic initiative that rolls up to the company initiative to show the alignment throughout your organization. 

But what if that alignment isn't as simple as A impacts B? What if an initiative from your colleague's product impacts when you can get started on your initiative? In this case, you can highlight when one initiative needs to be finished before others can be tackled on the Strategy Roadmap. Simply hover over an initiative until a dot appears, and grab it and drag it to the dependent initiative -- just as with features.


Example: Feature impacts milestones

Let's take another scenario where a feature actually drives the completion of a specific milestone. Universal dependencies allow you to create dependencies between phases, milestones, and features. Visualizing how all of your records relate allows you to see when aspects are not progressing as planned, and how they impact major milestones throughout your release cycle.


Relationships are not tied to object types 

In addition to the two specific examples above, relationships can be set between any initiative, release, release phase, milestone, feature, and idea by selecting the Link to another record option from the Actions menu. Then follow these steps:

  1. Set the relationship type (e.g. Depends on)
  2. Select the type of object you would like to link to using the drop-down menu on the left
  3. Search for the record or records to add to that relationship

Note: You are not limited to a single relationship for each object type.

Once you created these relationships, they will be visible on the detail view of that object similar to the example below:


Reporting on your relationships

Creating these relationships is just the start. As with any great plan -- the act of visualizing, reporting and sharing this information is of high importance.

Reporting options for these relationships include the following:

  • Dependency relationships between initiatives can be visualized on the Strategy -> Roadmap.
  • Dependency relationships between features, phases and milestones can be visualized on the Releases -> Roadmap or on Reports -> Timeline
  • Initiative, release, release phase, feature, and idea reporting tables include columns for Record links which can then be included in the List, Pivot, Chart, and Timeline report views.
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