Getting To Know Project Planning Techniques : Floats, Leads and Lags
In an organization, it is expected to have a chronologically arranged tasks and activities. These tasks are sequentially arranged to follow a specific pattern. In project management, there are terms called floats, leads and lags.
A float has four parameters that have significant impact to each task in the sequence. First to be observed is the Earliest start time (ES) refers to the specific time that a particular task has started, right after the previous task has finished. Second, is the Earliest Finish time (EF) which means the relationship between the time that a task has finished and its duration. Third, is the Latest Finish time (LF) refers to the time that a task has finished without affecting the cycle. Fourth, the Latest Start time (LS) or the would be LF one a tasks has been finished.
The float time is the correlation between time and activity. The moment that an activity has started and finished has direct impact on how early or late the preceding activities would be. An activity can be delayed but not the project itself.
Leads and Lags
Leads refer to a relationship whereby the successor activity begins before the predecessor activity has completed, whereas Lags refer to a relationship whereby the successor activity cannot start right after the end of its predecessor. Just like for example when Task A and Task B use the same materials and the manager waits to finish Task A to be able to see what happens when the material is used. Then after seeing the result, task B will get started, using the same material. Leads and Lags consist of the following:
- Finish to start (FS) is when there is a need to finish the first task to be able to let the second task to begin.
- Finish to Finish (FF) is when both tasks need to finish at the same time.
- Start to Start (SS) is when both tasks need to start at the same time.
- Start to Finish (SF) is when there is need to start the previous task in order to finish the later task.
In project management, the need to identify the relationship between the tasks and its duration directly affects the quality of the by product. In some scenarios, there is a need to let a task finish first before the other one could actually start. Sometimes both tasks need to start altogether or finish at the same time. There are these cases when, a previous task has to start to let the other task get finished. It is a significant factor in project management as it defines the flow or sequence of the tasks to be fulfilled. Seeing the tasks in relation to its time defines the quality of the results. There is a need to totally understand the concepts of float, leads and lags to modify the existing system whenever there is a need. The responsibility of the project manager is to facilitate and mentor his people about this concept.