Projects slack is a buffer against delays. Project activities that have slack are not on the critical path. But delays or procrastination can consume that slack, shift those tasks onto the critical path, and increase the risk to the project. Learning how to track and manage slack is an important competency for project leaders.
- Slack, it's a hidden part of every project plan. And managing slack properly can make a huge difference in how well your team is able to execute the plan. In this video, we'll learn what slack is and how to manage it like a pro. If an activity on your project plan can be delayed without pushing out the finish date of the project, then that activity has slack. Some people also call this float. The amount of slack or float is the amount of time that a task can be delayed without causing a delay to the completion of the project.
Tasks that are on the critical path don't have any slack. If any one of those tasks is delayed, then it will delay the whole project. But the tasks that aren't on the critical path do have slack, and that can come in handy. For example, let's look at a situation that came up during the project at HPlus Sport. There were two developers on the team working on different activities at the same time. One of the activities was on the critical path, and the other one had five days of slack.
Unfortunately, one of the two people caught the flu and had to take a few days off. Now HPlus Sport had to choose which activity the remaining developer should work on. The answer was for that person to work on the activity that was on the critical path. Otherwise every day that was lost due to the illness would have delayed the entire project's completion. You can think about slack as a cushion. It gives you some flexibility to move resources around. The more tasks you have on the critical path, the less slack you have, and the more risk there is in your project.
Anything that delays any one critical path activity will delay the whole project. Slack usually gets burned up as you execute a project. And when a task runs out of slack, boom, it becomes part of the critical path. Remember, the more tasks that are on the critical path, the more risk there is for your project because a delay in any one of them could delay the whole project. So it's best to keep activities on schedule and preserve slack if you can, but if you have to choose between using some slack or delaying your project, then using the slack is probably the right decision.
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