How to define and view item relationships without date/times?

On a board with future work I want people to see which items must be finished before starting with an item. Something like Blocked by or Depends on and a list of items.

I have tried the dependency column, but as far as I understand that requires the items to have dates. These items have no dates or duration.

There might be several possibilities to show such information, like:

  • a Gantt chart
  • a dependency tree
  • a list of blocking items for each item
  • sorting the spreadsheet by dependency

But I haven’t found a way to define and view such relationships. Is any of this possible?

Hey @robopzet

That’s an interesting challenge. And you’re right, dependencies by their nature require a timeline or date of some kind. The nature of dependencies is that if something isn’t done in time then the next item will be delayed. There is a way to do this using a rather powerful automation available to dependencies that I think will help. I’ve demonstrated it in this video below. Let me know if that’s what you’re looking for:

A Partner

Hi Stephen

Thanks for the elaborate answer!

By adding an extra status option, or a column to indicate a blocking item, I think I can use this technique.

It’s for software development with a backlog of features that have not been planned. When planning it helps to see if a feature depends on others. For example, a feature for an app can only work if the required feature is exposed by the backend.

Found the automation, but it only can change the same Status column that is checked, not set a field to a specific value. And it’s possible to manually change it to a “wrong” value.

When entering the dependency I can’t get it to set the initial status matching the entered values.

Also tried to set a conditional color based on the status of the dependent items, but there is no operator to create such a condition.

Also tried using a formula, but there are no functions to query fields of dependencies.

So, no solution for now. Perhaps switching to a real spreadsheet works better, or to GitHub, which we also use.