What is Float in Project Management

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Jul 18, 2022

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Project management float can be an excellent method for enhancing your activities and boosting your productivity. If you have experience planning, you have certainly heard of float. 

Infrastructure projects are highly complex. In most cases, the complexities of the situation can be simplified, and the total scope of the activity may be understood better with the assistance of a project plan.

The usage of organisational flow by proficient project leaders helps them stay focused. To avoid conflicts and maintain your work schedule, you should familiarise yourself with the concept float.

The length of time a task or job can be delayed without affecting the deadlines for the work as whole or other tasks is referred to as float or slack. Calculating them might assist you in validating your work progress and determining if you'll be able to finish tasks promptly.

Definition Of Float

The word "float" refers to "fluid," which also suggests "flexibility." In project planning, float denotes "schedule flexibility," often called "slack." Float is when a task can be postponed without affecting the whole process.

A project's "slack" — the amount of time and flexibility available for each work — may be identified via float strategic planning, which enables you to use this data to assess whether a program's scheduling is possible and which activities are on a "critical path."

Critical path tasks cannot be postponed or delayed and must be completed on time to keep the whole activities on track. Any delay or rescheduling of the work would affect other activities and cause the business to be late.

The advantages of project management float

Project management Float is helpful since it determines which activities can be delayed or restructured without harming the entire work. It also aids in preventing the delaying or relocating of work on the critical path, ensuring that your task does not miss its deadline.

The combination of float management and project planning software can help you have a strong grasp of your activities and run them more efficiently. It enables you to accurately track tasks and calculate float time that may be used to improve the efficiency and timeliness of your activities.

Float and slack are important to distinguish in activities. Finding plan compliance means you can optimise workflow without client or managerial permission.

Different kinds of project management float

Using "float" in strategic plans allows management to more effectively regulate how the length of activities affects the completion of the works. This is necessary until program leaders can regulate time effectively. In strategic planning, there are primarily three kinds of float zero float, total float, and free float.

Zero float 

In strategic planning, "zero float" refers to the lack of downtime between activities and tasks. These kinds of activities and duties are recognised as vital.

Activities with a critical path cannot be delayed or relocated. The disruption would affect other activities, and the organisation could miss its deadline.

It is possible to prevent relocating or delaying key route jobs by using project management float.

Total float 

When a task may be postponed without impacting the overall timeline, we say it has "total float."

The total float is split between sequential actions. The timeline for work can be postponed without impacting the program's deadline.

Free float 

Delaying one activity without affecting the commencement of a subsequent one is known as "free float."

Only the final activity in a series of activities will contribute toward its calculation.

Free-floating is the time that an activity can be moved without affecting other tasks. If the subsequent task would have enough free float to accommodate the delay of the previous task, the delay isn't a big deal.

Project management float example

For this example, let's imagine that you may have 40 days to finish the renovation of your living area since you have a party in two months. To complete this renovation, do the following.

  • Painting
  • Flooring
  • Installing a shelf
  • Bringing a sofa

All activities have 0% float and are on a critical path. Other activities, such as decorating or installing new items, can be added to this float, although they are still more customisable and are not on the critical path. For instance, you can decorate whenever you like, even after the celebration has ended.

In terms of furnishings, you also have a large sofa on which guests can sit. In the future, you may add armchairs or couches to the room.

Calculating float

There are two ways to determine free float and total float. Most corporate leaders do not perform float calculations manually since it takes much time and plans are frequently subject to change.

The best way to get appropriate, concrete results is to use management software that does all the calculations for you. However, follow these procedures if you prefer to do it by hand.

Total float calculation 

Use the initiative start and end dates to determine how much float you have. A total float computation can be applied to the entire program or task. This calculation shows the difference between when the last task was executed and when the task was completed. You'll know how long the initiative's critical path can always be delayed.

Total float looks like this

LF-EF=total float

Latest Finish (LF)

Earliest Finish (EF)

To simplify this concept even further, you have to subtract the date on which the preceding task was completed from the scheduled date of the current task.

LS - ES = total float

Latest start (LS)

Earliest start (ES)

Free float computation 

Free float illustrates how long an activity may be delayed before affecting the next. To determine free float in strategic planning, subtract the due date of the existing task from the planned commencement date of the next task. A free float is what you get as a result.

The formula looks to be as follows

 ES - EF = free float


You can start activity B at the earliest on Day 22. And you can complete your current task by Day 14 at the earliest.

When you use the formula ESEF, you get Day 22  Day 14, which would be 8 Days of free float.

Your present activity will only be counted once in a sequence of activities. Therefore it's vital to keep this in mind when planning your next set of activities.

How to use "float" to run projects better?

Considering total and free float may enhance organisational planning, internally and externally schedules, and procurement processes. Float can be used in almost all PM platforms, which is a significant advantage.

Because of the reliable software solution, you'll get what you need in one location. Collaborative Gantt charts make it very easy to assess where a task is at any one time and display total and free float throughout tasks.

The significance of float in the organisation of initiatives

  • It's a vital tool that increases productivity while allowing teammates to understand their work more deeply.
  • Project management float is ideal for small businesses with minimal resources and strict deadlines.
  • It enables small enterprises to determine which jobs must be emphasised and which may be temporarily assigned. Works can be more efficiently conducted, and critical issues can be addressed quickly.
  • Float strategic planning can also be applied to larger initiatives. However, it must be integrated with other frameworks.
  • Having a clear picture of the free and total float gives your clients and internal organisational management more flexibility.
  • Float makes sure that the work is completed on time. You can assure that your work will be delivered on schedule by keeping an eye on the total project management float.
  • You can consider bringing in more resources to assist your team in completing the outstanding tasks earlier than planned. If you face difficulty or are unable to complete the work on schedule, notify relevant parties and clients.
  • This enhances priority. Using free float, users can determine which tasks require priority and which will be more flexible. High free float assignments might be delayed because there's no rush.
  • It contributes to team confidence. Free float is utilised to maintain teams' happiness, motivation, and effectiveness. Your team will be less likely to become frustrated by unexpected delays if you keep a careful eye on the free float.


Project management float is one of the finest strategies to make more efficient use of your team's effort and handle projects and timelines more effectively. Calculating the float will help management determine how much time activities can lapse without delaying the work. The intricacy of project timelines and the variables affecting the ultimate duration vary. PMP training shows that you have the skills and experience to contribute and specific initiatives. To complete the PMP Certification exam and properly manage their schedules, decision-makers must clearly understand float as it relates to the Critical Path Methodology.


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