When working on a complex piece of software like a game, it’s quite common to have many interconnected systems and features that often depend on each other. Managing those dependencies properly and avoiding bottlenecks and blockers can be tricky. To help you with that matter, we provide a task dependency system that allows you to define which work items depend on each other and block them until their dependencies are resolved. Blocked items are marked with a lock watermark and colored in a darker tone, and they can be edited but can’t be moved to another stage (except for admins).

You can set dependencies from the task editor, by clicking on a task card on the kanban board or game design model section. Go to the chain icon tab and start writing the name or id of a task, the autocomplete will help you find the task you are looking for. Press Enter and the task will be added as a dependency or click on the task. When the dependencies are added they are evaluated and the current task is blocked if the conditions are met.

The purpose of the dependencies feature is to let you know if a task can be started or not, so when one task is blocked the system is constantly checking for its dependencies. When all the blocking dependencies of a task are resolved (moved to a stage with the status Closed), the task will be automatically unblocked. Alternatively, if a dependency was completed but moved back to one of the previous stages, the task will be blocked again. HacknPlan Studio offers the possibility of customizing the stages (kanban columns), including if the stage unblocks the dependencies of work items that are moved into it. This way you can unblock items when, for instance, they are being tested.

Note: HacknPlan provides notifications to inform you when a task has been blocked or unblocked, which is critical for the team to know when they can start working on it. The notifications can be configured by individual users from their settings and select between UI and email notifications. Premium users can also get these notifications in Slack.