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  • Writer's pictureSujoy Dutta, PMP

What is Free float and total float ?

Free float and total float are terms used in project management, specifically in the context of scheduling and managing tasks within a project. They refer to the amount of time that a particular task or activity within a project can be delayed without affecting the overall project schedule.

  1. Free Float: Free float, also known as "slack," is the amount of time a specific task or activity can be delayed without delaying the early start of its immediately following tasks. In other words, it represents the flexibility in scheduling a task without causing a delay in subsequent tasks that depend on its completion. Free float is important for identifying which tasks can be delayed without impacting the critical path of the project.

  2. Total Float: Total float, also known as "total slack," is the amount of time a specific task or activity can be delayed without delaying the project's final completion date. Unlike free float, total float takes into account both the immediate following tasks and the overall project schedule. Tasks with total float can be delayed without affecting the project's completion date.

In summary: Free float: The amount of time a task can be delayed without affecting the start of its immediate successors.

  • Total float: The amount of time a task can be delayed without affecting the project's final completion date.

Both free float and total float are important concepts in project scheduling as they help project managers identify tasks that have flexibility in their timing and tasks that are critical to the project's overall timeline. Critical path analysis is often used to determine these floats and ensure that the project is completed within the desired timeframe.

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