Dependency Field
Peter Novosel avatar
Written by Peter Novosel
Updated over a week ago

The Dependency Field is designed to streamlining task management by keeping track of things that must come before or after the task, process or other work item. The "Predecessor" function flags tasks that need to be completed before the current task can start, ensuring a logical order of actions. In the other direction, the "Successor" function highlights tasks blocked by the current one. These tasks are next but can't begin until the current task is done.

Feature Overview Video

The Dependency Field makes it easy to see and manage task dependencies, promoting efficient workflow coordination.

Adding a Dependency Field

From Grid View

Click the + menu icon after the last column header or open the Column Menu by clicking on a column header's dropdown icon and then select "Add Field to the Right."

Select "Dependency," and a window will open to configure the field. You can search the name for a quick find.

Note that you can only add a single Dependency field per Table.

From Record View

The fastest way to add a field from an open Record View to is simply click the + sign next to a current field to add a new field below.

When to use Dependencies

The Dependency Field is highly beneficial in various scenarios where task management and workflow coordination are critical. Here are some example use cases:

  1. Project Planning: When planning a project, the Dependency Field helps identify and manage task dependencies, ensuring that each step is completed in the correct sequence.

  2. Product Development: In product development, tasks often rely on the completion of others. The Dependency Field ensures that features, testing, and other elements are tackled in a logical order.

  3. Event Coordination: For events, such as conferences or product launches, where multiple tasks need to be completed, the Dependency Field ensures that each task is executed in the right order to meet deadlines.

  4. Software Development: In software development, coding, testing, and deployment tasks often have dependencies. The Dependency Field helps developers manage these dependencies, avoiding integration issues.

  5. Marketing Campaigns: Coordinating various aspects of a marketing campaign, like content creation, design, and promotional activities, is simplified with the Dependency Field, ensuring that no crucial step is missed.

Dependency Modes

The dependency field is linked to a due date field, which, in turn, is linked to status and assigned-to fields. This linkage establishes the start and end dates required for the Gantt chart. Key settings include:

  • Auto-Scheduling: Enable or disable live scheduling based on dependencies.

  • Scheduling Direction: Choose between start date forward or end date backward.

  • Dependency Mode: Standard mode for basic Gantt charts or advanced mode for customizable relationships and lag time.

Two modes offer flexibility for users with varying levels of experience and needs, Standard Mode and Advanced Mode.

Standard Mode

Standard Mode prioritizes user-friendly simplicity, making it an ideal choice for those who want to establish task dependencies without delving into the intricacies of different dependency types. In this mode, all dependencies are set to a straightforward Finish-to-start relationship, meaning that the dependent task kicks off only after the preceding task has been successfully concluded.

In Standard Mode, users can effortlessly create task dependencies without grappling with complex project management terminology. The mode automatically enforces a logical Finish-to-start relationship between tasks, ensuring a smooth and sequential flow in your project. This mode is particularly suited for individuals new to project management or those seeking a straightforward method to establish uncomplicated dependencies between tasks. It's also beneficial for teams desiring a hassle-free approach to guarantee that tasks are completed in a logical and sequential order.

Advanced Mode

Advanced Mode presents a comprehensive and intricate dependency management system tailored for seasoned project managers. In addition to the standard Finish-to-start relationship, this mode introduces three additional dependency types: Start-to-finish, Start-to-start, and Finish-to-finish. Advanced Mode goes beyond by allowing users to set lead and lag items, offering extensive customization and heightened control over task scheduling.

In Advanced Mode, users can leverage all four dependency types to fine-tune project scheduling according to specific needs:

  • Finish-to-start (FS): The successor task can't start until the predecessor task finishes.

  • Start-to-finish (SF): The successor task can't finish until the predecessor task starts.

  • Start-to-start (SS): The successor task can't start until the predecessor task starts.

  • Finish-to-finish (FF): The successor task can't finish until the predecessor task finishes.

Moreover, the option to add lead and lag items empowers users to adjust the timing between dependent tasks, ensuring precise control over project timelines. Advanced Mode is recommended for experienced project managers and teams seeking meticulous control over task dependencies. It caters to users requiring specific scheduling arrangements or those aiming to optimize project flow through the utilization of complex dependency structures.

Lead and Lag Time

Lag refers to a purposeful delay applied to a successor task, introducing a time gap after its predecessor concludes. For instance, a 3-day lag implies that Task B starts three days after Task A finishes, providing room for necessary preparations or transitional activities between the tasks. Conversely, Lead accelerates the successor task, allowing it to commence before its predecessor is completed. A 2-day lead means that Task B starts two days before Task A ends, creating an overlap that can be used to compress the project timeline or enhance schedule flexibility.

The functionalities of Lead and Lag offer project managers the capacity to customize their project flow based on specific needs and constraints. With Lead, tasks can be overlapped to compress project timelines and provide flexibility by starting dependent tasks earlier. On the other hand, Lag can be employed to insert delays between tasks, facilitating preparation, review, or other transitional needs. It also helps create buffer time for unforeseen delays, ensuring smoother transitions between project phases.

Lead and Lag are valuable tools for:

  • Project managers aiming to optimize scheduling and resource allocation.

  • Teams requiring flexibility in task sequencing or wanting to account for potential delays.

  • Users engaged in complex projects where precise timing between tasks is crucial.

Field Properties

Dependency fields can be added and named just like any other field.

When you open the field properties, you will see that several configuration parameters can be set. These include:

  • Dependency Field. Here you select the Due Date field that your tasks will depend on. Note that when this value is not set, you will see an error message displayed.

  • Dependency Mode. Here you can select between Standard and Advanced modes for the dependency field (Note that Advanced mode is available for Professional and Enterprise plans only).


The dependency field cannot be converted into any other field type - the field type chooser is disabled.

Using Dependencies

Using dependencies in your task couldn't be easier. After the dependency field has been added to your Table and properly configured, you will see it displayed in a format similar to Linked Record fields - with the addition of sections for Predecessors (tasks being waited on) and Successors (tasks that the current one is blocking).

To add new dependencies, click on Add Predecessor Dependency to select a task that is being waited on, or Add Successor Dependency to pick on that is blocked by the current task. You will be presented with a selector that will allow you to quickly find an existing task, or add a new one.

Note that you can filter this list to more easily locate the task you're looking for:

  • Assign To. Click here to filter by the task assignee (defaults to all Members)

  • Status. Click this value to filter tasks by their current status (defaults to any status value)

If you need to remove a dependency, simply click on the three-dot menu to the right hand side of the dependent task. You will be presented with an option to Remove Dependency.

Dependency Color Coding

You will notice that records (tasks now in this context) are displayed in the Dependency Field in different colors. This gives you a quick visual representation of their status. Colors vary by the state of the dependency, as follows:

  • Green. Indicates the dependent task has been marked complete (the status value selected in the associated Status field is a "complete" status).

  • Yellow. Dependencies displayed in yellow are in progress.

  • Red. Indicates that the task is in process and is also blocking, meaning that a dependent task is waiting for its completion.

Using Advanced Dependencies

When Advanced Mode is enabled for the dependency field, the detailed display of dependencies in the Edit Record interface adds additional configuration information and settings. It will look something like this:

There are now additional options to finely-tune the predecessor/successor information for your tasks. These include:

  • Dependency Type. The first box on the left side of the dependency item shows the dependency type. Type defaults to Finish-to-Start.

  • Lead / Lag. Following the type is the setting for Lead or Lag time in days. This value is used to compute how soon a task can start after its dependency is complete.

Dependency Type

There are four dependency types available:

  • Finish-to-start (FS) - You cannot start task B before task A is completed. This type of dependency can be applied when you need one task to be finished before the next one can be started.

  • Start-to-finish (SF) - You cannot complete task A before task B starts. With this type of dependency, the preceding action cannot be marked as completed until the following action starts.

  • Finish-to-finish (FF) - You cannot complete task B before task A is done. If you don't want to finish an action before the preceding one is completed, this type of dependency will be the one to go for.

  • Start-to-start (SS) - You cannot start task B before task A starts. Sometimes you might need to have one action start before letting the following one kick off. This type of dependency will allow you to do that.

Lead / Lag Time

Lag time defines a number of days required as a "buffer" between tasks. The Lag time value can be positive or negative to give you even more flexibility (i.e. a -1 lag time would start the task 1 day prior to the date the task would normally be auto-scheduled to start).

The value specified per dependency is used by the auto-scheduler to select the appropriate start date for the task, factoring into the rule set used to make schedule determinations. Remember that dates will automatically adjust if you modify this setting.

Using Dependencies in the View Toolbar

In addition to providing information about the relationships between tasks, the Dependency field can be used in the View Toolbar to organize and filter information to show just what you need. Let's talk about the View Toolbar controls and how the Dependency field can be used in them:


Dependencies function a lot like Linked Record fields when you use them in filters. You can choose a list of records that must be linked to a dependency, or use free-form text with contains to match a pattern in the associated records' Title field.

Two of the most useful filters are is empty and is not empty. Use these to show records that either have dependencies assigned, or have no dependencies at all. You can even use dependencies within filter groups to get very specific about the tasks you want to display.


You can choose to group your records by dependency by selecting your Dependency field in the Group By selector. Doing so will show you a list of all records involved in a dependent relationship, with the records they are related to displayed in the group.

It's important to remember a couple of details about the way dependencies are grouped. First, all of the records that have a dependency relationship - in either direction - are listed in the record's group. Second, dependent records will be displayed in the grouping for any record they have a dependency with - meaning that you will see individual records appear multiple times, grouped by each record they have a relationship with. See this grid display for an example:


You cannot sort by a dependency field's value. Most project managers sort by a linked record to a project or client, order by start or due date, and similar sort parameters to organize data. You can always sort by the start or due date associated with a record.

Dependencies are also not available in the Spotlight control. Try spotlighting records by status, due date or similar fields to highlight your project status.

Displaying Dependencies in SmartSuite Views

The Dependency field type does more than just provide context for Gantt Views - it can be used in a variety of View types to provide an overview of task dependency count, while also providing quick access to a list of dependent tasks. Let's take a look at the SmartSuite Views that can display Dependency field information.

Grid View

SmartSuite's Grid View is perfect to provide compact, interactive access to all of your project and task information. When a Dependency field is added to your Table you can choose to display it in a compact format embedded right within the grid.

When added to Fields to Display, you will see the predecessor and successor count for each record displayed in two pills:

Clicking any of the pills will display the tasks the individual record is waiting on or blocking, depending on the pill you choose.

Note: The Dependency Fieldโ€™s Predecessor and Successor information can now be displayed independently in Grid, allowing you to edit and interact with them in the same way you would a Linked Record.

Kanban View

With the Kanban view you can instantly visualize the progress of your project or process. Now you can add dependency information to the displayed cards to provide quick access to predecessor and successor tasks.

Just like in Grid view, clicking on the dependency pills will show you predecessor and successor records, and allow you to make adjustments to them.

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