In Gantt chart examples on the web I often find this type of relation between two tasks:

chart example

I tend to understand an arrow as "the destination task can't be started before completion of the source task", but it makes no more sense if the chart shows that the tasks can be executed simultaneously at some point.

What am I missing ?

  • You might be missing the simple fact that stuff on the internet is often wrong :)
    – nvoigt
    May 31 at 12:10

2 Answers 2


ThCollignon, What you are showing is a finish-to-start with a lead. In MS Project it could look like the task dependency relationship shown for tasks "a" and task "b". However, a more appropriate relationship might be "task "d" can start when task "c" is 50% complete". enter image description here


Additional Cues About Partial Overlap

This answer seems to be basically correct, but I'd add that many Gantt chart applications use the color-coding on the bars to give you a visual cue of which part of a task is a gating prerequisite for starting the following task. In your given example, the lead time between when the first task starts and when the second one should begin is one box (whatever time frame that represents; your diagram doesn't display that). The darker part of the first task is the minimum completion, and the additional space on the lighter part represents slack or other lead time being built into the dependency.

Note that the subsequent task also has a darker-colored section, presumably representing the same information for any subsequent tasks. While there currently isn't one, it seems likely that this is a subset of a larger work package so the coloring of the second bar may or may not be useful.

Rethink Your Dependency Graph

Now, whether or not this type of "partial completion" dependency is the best was to represent this work is arguable. I'd generally suggest either decomposing the work further so that there's less overlap, with the goal of having semi-parallel work represented in a less confusing way. For example, having a1 -> b and a1 -> a2 as separate activities just seems more manageable and a lot less ambiguous, but the trade-off is that it will require more composition and possibly more real estate on your planning document.

While most people using Gantt charts aren't doing agile project planning where done/not-done decomposition is largely considered de rigueur, slicing the salami thinner is not orthogonal to traditional project management. It may a beneficial practice for your project to adopt, regardless of your chosen framework or tooling.

Your mileage may vary, though.

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