Revisiting Dependency Management

Let’s look at dependency management and why it's important to maintain this practice in program execution.

We'll cover the following

What matters during execution?

Remember, managing complexity is really at the heart of what you do as a technical program manager.

Complexity invites risk, and one of your major jobs is to reduce or eliminate risk. Dependencies across many teams, systems, and services are major contributors to increased complexity.

As the program progresses, you will periodically discover new dependencies that need to be accounted for.

When you discover new dependencies, you should:

  1. Build relationships: Take time to build relationships with those who own that dependency. Get to know what their team or organization does.

  2. Onboard the new stakeholders: Give this team context on the program as a whole. Help them understand where they fit in and, most importantly, whether or not they are on the critical path of the program. Clearly articulate the time constraints associated with the dependency and the other moving parts of the program.

  3. Document the dependency: If you're keeping a RAID log, take time to document the dependency. This is either in a static document or in a living system like Jira.

  4. Communicate the new dependency: Other stakeholders may be interested to know that an additional dependency has been discovered. Take time to inform the other stakeholders. Doing so will build more trust across the program team.

Dependency management during execution is a continuation of the discovery activity in planning. You need to walk the new team(s) through the program context, and often it will feel like you're walking back through a mini-planning phase with the new team. This is normal. This is part of the iterative nature of a program.

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