Slack time in project management
Many project managers are under the misconception that slack time in project management is a waste of time. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Slack time can actually lead to increased productivity by giving your team members space and freedom to try new things, innovate, and experiment with fresh ideas. Let’s discuss how slack time can help you manage your projects more effectively in this blog post!
What is (Slack) free float
The word “free float” refers to the amount of slack time in project management, sometimes also referred to as “slack”. In project management, free float, sometimes also referred to as “slack,” is a number that shows the time we can delay a task without affecting subsequent tasks or the project’s overall completion.
In a project, there are many tasks that need to be completed. It is the task of project managers to keep track of them all.
Sometimes, the tasks in a project all go smoothly and work independently of one another, resulting in very few complications.
Other times, a long chain of dependent tasks might make project management more complicated.
The project manager should prevent situations like this by assigning slack time to any tasks where one task’s completion depends on the completion of another.
Delays can happen. If you want to avoid delays, then it’s time to familiarize yourself with the use of project float.
How to use slack in project management.
The basics of slack time are simple.
A project manager assigns slack time to the tasks that a dependent on another task’s completion, in order to account for any delays that might happen along the way. This means that if one of these dependent tasks is delayed, there will be more slack allocated so it can still finish without affecting other tasks’ deadlines.
The most common use of slack time is with staffing issues and dependencies between team members or teams. When assigning staff resources for individual projects: take into consideration your organization’s limitations when allocating workloads because you don’t want people working longer hours than they may by law—especially those who have families at home waiting for them each evening!
You also need to consider what would happen if a project staff member falls ill or if a project is delayed and tasks are missed. These things can take up slack time so that other project deadlines aren’t impacted.
So, when a task requires more work than originally expected, allocate some slack time to it in order for those unforeseen circumstances not to affect the rest of your team’s timelines.”
If we account for any delays along the way with additional slack, we will finish without affecting other deadlines.
Often this means allocating enough resources (staff or equipment) on an individual project: accounting for their availability during the entire duration of the timeline—not just at one point in time; creating contingency plans which could include extra help from others.
Two types of float
When using the Critical Path Method (CPM) in traditional project management software, Total Float (TF) and Free Float (FF) is calculated, which most know and use. The TF is the total slack time that has been allocated to a task or activity. We calculate the FF by subtracting the Total Float from 100%.
Impact of Slack Time on Team Members in Project Management
The general opinion among team members with this type of work environment seems to be they’re more motivated and have less stress than those who are constantly doing things at full speed without any breathing room.
As long as there’s enough slack for each individual, it can actually lead to increased productivity because people don’t feel so overwhelmed all the time. This also means taking breaks throughout your day when you need them—as opposed to working straight through until late into the evening before crashing, which often leads not only to burnout but can also jeopardize your mental health.