Float On: Free Float, Total Float, & Slack

Please pardon the interruption, folks. My paying job has had me hopping with deliverables, and I wasn't able to whip out a high-quality post in time for publication last week. I'm sure you missed me.

But having missed a week posting being a big fat slacker offers the perfect opportunity to segue into my next topic, which is "slack," AKA "float" in tasks for a given project. I referenced it in my last entry as "total float." (Which, incidentally, sounds really relaxing… something I'd like to be doing, in a pool, perhaps with an umbrella drink in hand.)

"Float" is a pretty important concept in Critical Path Management. It's basically the amount of time you can let a project task slip before it adversely affects other tasks or your whole project. If you can, imagine your project tasks, linked by dependencies, as pieces of rope all tied together (a Gantt chart gives you a pretty good visual here). When you have slack in your rope, you have some leeway, and so it is with project management. With slack, your project isn't necessarily stretched to its utmost limit.

You have a couple of different kinds of slack, or float (the two can be used interchangeably, apparently, though I'm not sure if one or the other is more fashionable among genuine PMs). First, there's "free float" (which also sounds pleasant). This refers to a permissible delay that will not adversely affect subsequent tasks in a project.

Then there's the aforementioned "total float," which is associated with the path as a whole and is the sum of the total free float values in a given path.

Clear as mud? Well, have a look at the diagram and brief example on this Wikipedia page. Yes, yes, we all know that Wikipedia is a suspect source, but when I was discussing this week's topic with Mike Taylor, CEO of Innovative-e, he emailed that very link to me. And he's a bona fide Project Management Professional.

But if you don't trust Wikipedia as a source, check out this article on Microsoft's Office site.

Because this is such a key concept for Critical Path Management, you'll want to read and re-read (and then read some more) so you really internalize the idea and come to understand how float can change the landscape of your entire project.

SharePoint

Applications

SharePoint apps are stand-alone applications that perform specific tasks on a SharePoint site. Apps can perform functions such as managing a discussion board or knowledge base, performing project management or time tracking tasks, or doing other workflow operations.

SharePoint

Product Suites

Experience greater power and savings by bundling our SharePoint apps and web parts.


Essentials


Essentials Plus


Bamboo Premier


Project Management Suite


Knowledge Management Suite


External User Manager


SharePoint

Web Parts

Extend SharePoint beyond its out-of-the-box capabilities by tailoring it to your requirements with Bamboo Solution’s growing portfolio of Web Parts. Web Parts are the building blocks of pages on a SharePoint site that can be used to customize the user interface and content of a site page. 

SharePoint

Product Suites

Experience greater power and savings by bundling our SharePoint apps and web parts.


Essentials


Essentials Plus


Bamboo Premier


Project Management Suite


Knowledge Management Suite


External User Manager


Office 365

Cloud Parts

Cloud Parts are functional components that extend your SharePoint environment whether it’s hosted, on-premises, or part of Microsoft Office 365. More than mere ports of existing software to the cloud, our Cloud Parts have been built from the ground up to take advantage of the best that the cloud has to offer.

SharePoint

Product Suites

Experience greater power and savings by bundling our SharePoint apps and web parts.


Cloud Parts Suite for O365/SP Onl.


Featured Services

SharePoint Health Check

A SharePoint Health Check will identify the causes of issues and risks associated with your specific environment, and is custom tailored to provide you with the best recommendations to optimize your SharePoint environment.

SQL Health Check

Document recommendations relating to performance, stability, availability, or a specific focus you request of your SQL Server database instances.

My SharePointXperts

The truth is that each SharePoint skill may not be a full time job for many organizations, and it is nearly impossible for one person to do everything you need – so augment your team with SharePointXperts; providing the skill sets you need when you need them!