Track feature dependencies to mitigate risks

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Dependencies can be created between two features, a feature and a subfeature, or two subfeatures.

Identifying dependencies early helps you identify the true cost of building a feature, which may include laying the groundwork in addition to developing the feature itself. They also help avoid costly delays due to one product team blocking another’s progress.

We recommend surfacing potential cross-team dependencies early, during routine roadmap review and planning sessions spanning all product teams.

In this article:

Relevant to Legacy boards only

Creating dependencies

  1. Select a feature or subfeature to open its detail sidebar.
  2. Under Dependencies, select Add new [+].
  3. Specify the dependency relationship (Is blocking or Is blocked by) and select the relevant feature or subfeature. 

Filtering for dependencies

Dependencies are valid filters on most filters. You can filter for:

  • Entities which are blocking other entities
  • Entities which are blocked by other entities
  • Entities with dependencies
  • Entities without dependencies

Visualizing dependencies

On a features board

  1. Click the AddColumnButton.svg Add columns button.
  2. Select Default fields.
  3. Toggle on Dependencies.

You will now see a new column showing the total number of dependencies for each feature or subfeature, split between entities it is blocking and entities it is blocked by.

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On a roadmap

Click the configure.svg Configure menu in the top right corner of a roadmap. Under Dependencies visualization you'll find two options.

Enable dependencies adds a chainlink icon to any features with dependencies. Click this icon to reveal which features or subfeatures are blocking or blocked.

Display lines links features together visually so you can follow dependency threads. Arrows always point toward the feature being blocked, and they come in three colors:

  1. Grey lines are regular dependencies.
  2. Blue lines appear when you hover over features with dependencies to help you track their paths.
  3. Red lines indicate a dependency conflict.

Resolving dependency conflicts

In Productboard, dependency conflicts are based on the timeframes of two dependent features.

For example, if feature A is blocking feature B, and the feature timeframe of feature B occurs before or simultaneously with feature A, there is a dependency conflict.

Dependency conflicts are always shown in red, whether it's the line on a roadmap, the text in a sidebar, or the chainlink icon in a column or feature card. 

To resolve the dependency conflict, you'll need to adjust the timeframe of either feature until they are no longer overlapping or occurring in the wrong order. There are a couple ways to adjust a timeframe:

  • On a timeline, click and drag in the middle of a feature to shift its timeframe, or on the edge to change its duration.
  • On a column or detail sidebar, click the timeframe field and input new data to override the existing timeframe. 

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Current limitations

  • It is not possible to push dependencies into Jira.
  • Subfeatures cannot be dependent on their parent feature.

See also

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Comments

8 comments
Date Votes
  • I feel like this should be part of a normal plan (Essential or Pro). It is key for every product team to track dependencies. This is not something only larger companies need to do, and not really a "special feature".

    2
  • Hi Emile van Rooyen, Evan here from Productboard. While I understand you believe this feature should be available to a broader number of plans, I have forwarded your feedback internally to our Product team to review. 

    If you have any support-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact them by logging a ticket or emailing support@productboard.com.

    0
  • Adding a +1 to Emile's comment here - dependencies happen even in the tiniest teams.

    2
  • Hi Nick Mason

    Thanks for providing your feedback; I submitted this to our product team on your behalf to review.

    If you have any support-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact them by logging a ticket or emailing support@productboard.com.

    0
  • I totally agree with Emile's comment. This is such a core feature of managing a product spanning multiple disciplines. This is starting to hinder us and pushing us to rethink what tool we should use

    2
  • Hi Stephane Groud

    Evan here from the Customer Education team at Productboard.Thanks for providing your feedback on this feature. 
    I understand that you agree with the other's feedback on this feature so I have turned your comment into a note that is shared with our Product team for when they are next reviewing pricing and packaging. 

    If you have any support-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact them by logging a ticket or emailing support@productboard.com.

    0
  • Wasted the last 20 mins trying to figure this out and then I see a basic feature as Dependency is only for Enterprises! 

    Currently Evaluating if Productboard is a good fit for us. 

    1
  • Hello Hemanth G,

    My name is Pavel and I'm a member of the Support Team at Productboard. Thank you for letting us know about your experience with it. I submitted this as a feature request to our Product team, so they could have a look.

    In the meantime, please let us know if we can assist you with anything during your evaluation process. Feel free to contact us at support@productboard.com or visit our Academy Page in case you need any materials to start with any area of Productboard. Thank you and I wish you a great day!

    0

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