Float (also referred to as Slack)

Float, or slack, refers to the difference between the earliest date an activity can start and the latest date by which the activity must start for the project to complete on time.

For example, let’s say that Activity B could start as early as March 15, since that is when all predecessor activities are completed.

wever, it also turns out that Activity B can start as late as March 30 and you would still complete the project on time. This would mean that activity B has 15 days of float (also called 15 days of slack).

When you are looking at the Float in your project, you may come upon three terms - free float, path float and total float.

Free float is a term that is applied to individual activities. It refers to the amount of float in an activity before it delays the next activity.

For example, if activity B can start up to five days after activity A completes without impacting the next activity, activity B has a free float of five days.

There is also a concept of path float, which is similar to free float, but is applied over an entire path of the workplan. Path float is shared by all the activities on the path. If one activity uses up some of its free float, it is also reducing the path float that is available for other activities on the path as well.

For example, if you have three activities in a path - A, B, C - each with five days of free float, the path float is 15 days (5 + 5 + 5). If activity A starts on time and completes on time, activity B now has ten days of free float and the path float is still 15.

However, if activity A is delayed by five days, it can still finish on time, and activity B can still start on time. The path float has now been reduced by five days, leaving a path float of ten days remaining. In an extreme example, let’s say activity A takes 15 days to complete instead of five.

You will now find that activity B and C have no float remaining. Remember that path float belongs to the entire path. If one activity uses the entire path float, there is no float remaining for the other activities on the path.

Total float refers to the total amount of float between all activities on all paths. If you have a lot of total float, then you usually have many more options as to how you allocate resources to achieve your due dates, and you have more flexibility if your project gets behind schedule.

However, if total float on the project is low, you will have more schedule risk and much less flexibility. If the project starts to fall behind, you will have a harder time reallocating resources, since if another path gets delayed it may quickly turn into the critical path.

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Entrega inmediata.

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