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Project Float and Free Float- PMP/CAPM

Free Float

The amount of duration in which the scheduled activity can be deferred without postponing the subsequent scheduled activities.

In project management, free float refers to the duration that spans from the finishing point of a scheduled activity while extending to the upcoming planned activities. It is measured by subtracting the primary end of the activity from the early beginning of the subsequent activity. Once you identify the time period, subtract it from the expected total time of completion of the first activity. In case there is no following activity, you will primarily use the project end date to determine the free float window in the project network. Free float is only measured on the final activity in an activity sequence. It is calculated individually for each activity.

Example:

If an activity has a time period of six days and is occurring parallel with another activity which has a duration of nine days, the former will have approximately three days of total float. It can be postponed up to three days without affecting the overall project. On the other hand, if it is delayed by five days, it will come with a negative float situation i.e. – 2 days. This means that the project will take two more days than the expected duration.

Project Float

The duration in which the given task is delayed before it affects the deadline for the project.

Project managers often use float time to schedule the certain time frames for the tasks to be accomplished on time. The project float doesn’t influence the deadlines of other following tasks. To make the most of the float, it’s important to determine the critical path and measure the amount of float in every non-critical task. Also, it helps in visualizing the project using Gantt chart. That way, you can reorganize tasks into specific chains and reassign the resources and work schedules accordingly to maximize efficiency. It’s important to revise float estimate as the project continues. For instance, if a specific task takes longer than expected, you may want to use the estimated float to compensate it. One simple way to calculate project float is to deduct the duration you have assigned to complete a task from the time the task will take in real. Suppose you have assigned 12 days for a task, though it only takes 8 days to complete. The approximate slack will be 4 days.

Float

Flot

Total Float aka Float

The time period in which the scheduled activity may be postponed from its early start date without deferring the project finish date or intermediate milestone.

Total float refers to the amount of time an activity can be postponed without delaying the complete project duration. Project managers must know the estimated total float time available at the very beginning of the project. Total float refers to the delayed duration that doesn’t interfere with the project completion deadline. Since unexpected occurrences can happen anytime from poor weather conditions to the sudden emergency of a team member. For that reason, the project manager should estimate the total float so the project is finished on time. To find a total float, one important technique is to use a critical path that helps in identifying the earliest possible and latest finishing point. Preferably, a project should not go beyond the latest finish date to keep the project running on a defined schedule. Total float is calculated considering the difference between the initial and late start date (LS – ES) or the initial and late finish date (LF – EF).  Total float is common between the activities in an arrangement. The structure is defined as the undertakings between a path convergence and path divergence.

Important Notes on Free Float, Project Float and Total Float

  1. Any project activity with a float time that equals 0 or with negative float is considered a critical path task.
  2. Total Float is for the project and again for activities not on Critical Path
  3. Free Float is on individual activities and those which are not on Critical Path
  4. Buffers and Total Floats are not the same. Buffers are added as contingency reserves whereas total float is due to its placement in the Network Diagram.
  5. Same like Buffers and Total Floats, Lags and Free Float are not the same. Lags are introduced by the scheduling team whereas Free Floats are because of their placement
  6. An Activity may have different Free Float and Total Float

Formula Free Float and Total Float

  • Total Float = LF – EF (or LS – ES)
  • Free Float = ES of next activity – EF

Further Readings

  1. Project Schedule Management
  2. Planning Process Group

Quick Links for Project Management

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Budget and Cost Estimates- PMP/CAPM

Budget and Cost Estimates are two terminologies that even senior project managers use them interchangeably all the time. Well! one may say that these are the opposite side of the same coin.

Estimate – To produce a statement of the approximate cost of (Merriam-Webster Online, http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/estimate)

Budget – plan expressed in quantitative, usually monetary, terms that covers a specific period of time (Accounting Text & Cases, Anthony, Hawkins, and Merchant, Twelfth Edition, page 697)

Budget

The budget of a project is put together using the project schedule and cost estimates. It provides an overview of the cost from a periodic perspective. The project budget must align with the organization’s funding limitations to make sure adequate finances are available. Typically, budget refers to the sum of money that has been assigned for a purpose. In terms of project management, a budget represents an accepted estimate for either the complete project or for a specific schedule activity or work breakdown structure. At times, the budget is modified with approval from the higher authority. Though the ideal situation is to stick to the pre-defined budget.

Project budget determines the total amount of finances allocated for the project use. Project manager along with the consultation of team estimates the project budget. This comprises of all the costs that are required to complete the project. If the project budget is estimated poorly, you will perhaps need to modify the budget sooner or later. A project manager usually uses four techniques to estimate the budget including parametric, analogous, top-down, and bottom-up.

Budget is an effective tool to estimate the costs and essential efforts for projects, work packages, and activities associated with project management. Cost budgeting involves the approximation of costs, setting a certain budget, and managing and monitoring the actual costs in comparison to the estimated ones. These costs are assigned to the project activities and work packages in a project. A prudently executed schedule and resource plan allow a more precise cost budgeting. However, changes are made in the following circumstances:

  • There is scope variation
  • A new budget is more practical
  • Planned costs are not adequate for certain tasks
Budget and Cost Estimates

Budget and Cost Estimates

 

The cost estimate is a list and quantification of all of those with a dollar amount attached to it. Budgeting relies on that good estimates. Budgeting is the process of identifying not the amounts, but the sources of the funds to be used to cover the cost estimate.

Cost Estimates

To progress in the field of project management, the capability to estimate the cost is crucial to the project. Being a project manager, accurate and realistic estimates are important to estimate metrics that need to be executed. A project manager helps in preparing accurate estimates to get all inputs appropriate when calculating the cost. Typically, there are two ways to estimate the cost of a project including ROM and definitive estimate. The cost estimates are just the costs associated with the activities and work packages in the project schedule. The cost estimate is determined using parametric, three-point, or analogous estimating techniques primarily depending on the work package or activity.

Estimating is a crucial part of project planning comprising a quantitative estimate of project finances, resources, and duration. Cost estimation in project management is the procedure of predicting the financial and other resources required to complete a project within a definite scope. Cost estimation involves every element needed for a project from materials to finances and estimates a total amount that defines a project budget. For this, an initial cost estimate is determined that figure out whether the project should be moved forward. If the cost estimation is very high, an organization may not want to proceed with the project or modify the tasks according to their affordability. As the project progresses, the cost estimate is used to manage all associated costs to keep the project on budget.

Summary of Budget and Cost Estimates

Ideally, all the  estimates should be organized against Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and simple roll-up will be converted directly to the budget

An estimate is an approximation of what your project (or piece of it) will cost. The budget is what you’re allowed to spend. The estimate provides a guideline, the budget provides hard edges. You can’t go ‘over-estimate’, but you can go over-budget.  Management usually speaks in ‘budget’ terms, the team in ‘estimate’ terms.PM4NGOS

In the best-case scenario, the estimate comes before the budget. The sequence would be:

  1. Scope is prepared
  2. Schedule is prepared
  3. Cost Estimate built
  4. Budget determined

Further Readings

    1. Project Cost Management
    2. Planning Process Group
    3. PM4NGOSMudassir Iqbal, Professional Skills Trainer
    4. What is the Difference Between Project Cost Estimate and Project Budget?Mudassir Iqbal, Professional Skills Trainer

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..

Residual Risk and Secondary Risk- PMP/CAPM

Residual Risk and Secondary Risk

The PMBOK® Guide ver 6 defines risk as “An uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect upon at least one project objective.”

Residual Risks

The risks that might remain after the planned response of risk and those that have been purposely accepted. PMBOK Guide ver 6.

Residual Risks

Source: https://www.wallstreetmojo.com/residual-risk/

Residual risks are referred to as leftover risks. These are accepted to the corporate risk tolerance level. In certain cases, a residual risk doesn’t have a reasonable response. Project manager merely accepts them the way they are since there is not much do about it. The risks are recognized during the process of planning. Usually, a contingency reserve is set up to cope with such risks. As a project manager, you will make sure that every residual risk is assessed properly. If there is no action required, you will probably keep them on the watch list. Though if they need any action, you should perhaps minimize the probability or influence of the risk through mitigation plan. For Residual Risk, we might not always act.

Example:

Imagine you have identified a risk about the occurrence of rain for an hour or two. Subsequently, you have developed a contingency plan to manage the risk. You might think that what if the rain continues to fall even after two hours. You will further evaluate the situation and create a fallback plan referred to as residual risk.

Secondary Risks

The risks that come up as a direct result of executing a risk response. PMBOK Guide ver 6.

For secondary risks, the project management team need to identify the risk and formulate a response plan to deal with the situation. As soon as the plan is executed, it may lead to a new risk that’s known as secondary risk. A response plan is developed primarily depending on the influence of these risks on the project. Typically, a high impact risk requires a response plan. On the contrary, if the risk appears negligible, it will be only looked after by the project manager. Subsequently, the secondary risks are evaluated for their severity and that may or may not need a response plan to achieve the ultimate project objectives. For Secondary Risk, we will have response plan.

Example:

Suppose you are a project manager for construction tasks. According to your experience, you are well aware of the fact that one major risk that you might face is when the sand supplier doesn’t deliver on time. Accordingly, in the risk management plan, you will consider this risk and the required action in case of such an event. Even after the implementation of the risk response plan, there is another potential risk that’s the difference in the sand provided by two suppliers which were to be referred to as a secondary risk.

The difference between Residual Risk and Secondary Risk

Assume you are planning the study schedule for your upcoming exam, the primary risks affecting the schedule may include:

  • You may not find enough time to study due to professional commitment. There might an unexpected project comes up during the exam preparation as residual risk. Consequently, you need to set a plan to postpone your exam commonly known as a known unknown from contingency reserve.
  • In another situation, you may fall ill during exam prep. There will be mainly a secondary risk for the risk response i.e. what if the vaccines cause side effects such as prolonged fatigue or infection. You will perhaps require a risk response plan for this secondary risk.

It is important for Project Manager or for Project management Team that all types of risks must be identified, analyzed, monitored and taken care of throughout the project.

Further Readings

  1. Project Risk Management
  2. Risk Definitions 
  3. Residual RiskMudassir Iqbal, Professional Skills Trainer

 

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PMP Exam – Changes

All PMI Certification Exams Moving to Pearson VUE

Important Dates

1 March 2019
PMI-ACP scheduling available at Pearson VUE

1 April 2019
PMI-ACP testing begins at Pearson VUE centers and online proctoring

1 April 2019
Scheduling available at Pearson VUE for PMP®, PgMP®, PfMP®, PMI-PBA®, PMI-SP® and PMI-RMP® exams

30 June 2019
Last date for testing at Prometric centers

1 July 2019
Testing begins at Pearson VUE centers for PMP, PgMP, PfMP, PMI-PBA, PMI-SP and PMI-RMP exams

PMP® Exam Will Change in December – 2019

Important Dates

June 2019
New PMP Exam Content Outline Releases

15 December 2019
Last Day to Take Current Version of PMP Exam

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Don’t forget to visit PMP Certification Simplified!

A 9-week online training course designed for you, a PMP Aspirant, by taking out the Guesswork from your Quest towards the  Ultimate Goal, The PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification

Mudassir Iqbal, PMP PMP Course Outline  PMP Certification Simplified!PMP Certification Simplified Brochure