This option can be particularly useful when your project is quite complex with lots of tasks. In this case it’s advisable to use the hierarchy of sub-tasks and parent tasks to better organize your schedule.
Let’s say you’re producing a newsletter that has to be printed and sent to your clients. You have dozens of tasks on your plate. Some of them have to do with the content: writing the articles, reviewing the copy, etc. Some of them deal with the design and visual aspects; some are related to the printing process.
So to offer a better organization you can define your main categories and create them as parent activities, e.g. Articles, Photo and Illustrations, Assembly and Printing.
Then you make all other activities as sub-tasks for the appropriate parents:
Large / Long Activities
Another reason to use parent and child tasks if you originally defined only a few tasks, but each one of them can take many days, weeks or months to complete. Keep tracking of the progress can be a challenge in this scenario. So, by chopping your large tasks into smaller sub-tasks you’ll make it easier to keep track of deadlines and take corrective measures before it’s too late.
Having multiple people responsible for a single task is another situation when it’s a good idea to use the hierarchy. The best practice is to define the parent task as a place holder and have each sub-task assigned to a single person for better tracking and accountability.
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This post is a part of our on-going Project Management 101 series.