What are predecessor & successor relationships between cards?
Before we explain why this feature can come in handy when crafting specific relationships between the cards on your Kanban board, let’s define what we had in mind when we created the possibility of linking cards in the predecessor/successor hierarchy.
This form of linking, unlike the familiar child, parent and relative relationships, allows the cards to be dependent on each other with indication of the order in which they will need to be performed. The new link not only implies but also enforces the relationship between successor and predecessor so the successor card cannot precede the predecessor in the order in which they get updated.
For example, if Card 1 was formerly represented as a child of Card 2 but Card 1 must actually be completed fully before Card 2 can move to In Progress, then Card 1 is considered a predecessor of Card 2. In turn, that makes Card 2 its successor.
What happens when you make two cards predecessors or successors of each other?
There are many project scenarios in which this type of dependency perfectly reflects the relationship between two tasks. When a card is assigned a predecessor, the new successor becomes blocked until the predecessor is moved to Done because there should be no way to begin working on the successor unless the predecessor is complete. Attempting to move the successor between columns will not be allowed by the system until the predecessor is completed, the former card will only bounce back to its original location.
Users will also not be able to move predecessors back to In Progress from the Done and Archive columns if the Successor has already entered the In Progress area or has been completed.
Use predecessor and successor links in your work breakdown
This linked relationship is an optimal way to structure your work breakdown accurately and maintain the branch structure of larger tasks getting broken down into smaller ones to make a project manageable. By making the smaller tasks predecessors to the larger ones you keep an order in which tasks must be completed but can also connect smaller tasks among each other as children or relatives without a specific order, if you like.
The future of predecessor and successor links
This addition to the links panel is our first step towards adding a Gantt chart and data visualizations to show critical path in Kanbanize. These new functionalities will be a great guide for all project managers to adapt more easily to flow-based systems such as Kanban. In the future, they will also contribute to providing timely warnings when an upcoming deadline has a chance of getting missed.
We’re not implying that you implement gigantic Gantt charts to plan events set to take place in two years time to the minute or the hour. Instead, we are offering the opportunity for cross-functional teams to synchronize their work more easily and reduce their waste.
How to configure this relationship between cards
The new predecessor and successor options will be available in the familiar Links tab and will show up in the links panel of the card when it is closed on the board.