Let’s say you’re handling a huge project, like building a big facility or shutdown project, with thousands of activities. You might need to look at the “total float” of these tasks.
So, what’s total float and why check it?
Every task in your project has to be done, but they’re not all equally urgent. Total float helps you see which tasks are super important and which can wait a bit. It’s like figuring out which tasks can be delayed without slowing down your whole project.
To make this easier, you can sort your tasks into three categories based on their total float:
- Critical Activity
- Nearly Critical Activity
- Non-Critical Activity
Define Critical Activity and Why You Need to Review It
A total float less than or equal to zero is critical by default. I usually define Critical Activity – total float up to 5 days in P6. But it can vary depending on the project and the project manager.
So, you could define it as you wish (e.g., total float less than 3 days) in P6 or follow the project procedure.
Reason for checking critical activities?
- You want to monitor the slippage of critical activities because this will impact the project’s completion.
- Also, you can check the schedule logic error or excessive duration because the logic and activity duration define the total float.
How to Build a filter to find the activities with Total Float (0 to 5 days)
STEP 1 – Go to “Filter,” then select “New” to create a new filter.
STEP 2 – The Untitled Filter (a new filter) box will appear when clicking the “New” tag.
STEP 3 – Set filter criteria and give the filter name
(A) Select “Total Float” from the drop-down list
(B) Select “ is within range of”
(C) Enter “0” for low value and “5d” for high value to return float within 0 to 5 days
(D) Give a filter name that makes sense for everyone, Total Float = 0 to 5 days, then click “OK” and select “Apply” to see the filter result.
Define Nearly Critical Activities and Why You Should Check
The definition of nearly critical is not universal. So, it can vary depending on the project and the project manager. For a two to three-year project, I define (in consultation with the Project Manager) – total float equals 5 to 20 days.
A total float of less than 10 days is nearly critical for a one-to-two-year project.
Reason for checking Nearly Activities?
You also want to keep track of these activities because they can become critical quickly and potentially delay the project.
How to build a filter to find the activities with Total Float (5 to 20 days)
1) Follow the same steps as above (0 to 5 days total float),
2) Enter the total float value 5d in low value and 20d in high value to return activities with a total float within 5 to 20 days
Review Non-Critical Activity and Why You Should Check
For a two to three-year project, I would say Non-Critical Activities when the total float is more than 20 days. You could define non-critical activities as you wish (e.g., total float > 0 days). But being conservative is better so the team can react on time.
Reason for checking Non-Critical Activities?
You can validate the schedule logic by reviewing the activities with excessive float because the activity with open-ended activities will have excessive float.
The consequence of not paying attention to non-critical activities (especially with excessive float) might expose the risk of schedule delay because there might be activities on the critical path if the schedule logic is correct.
Build a filter to find the activities with Total Float of more than 30 days
Follow the steps above (0 to 5 days total float) with the following changes.
(A) Select the parameter “is greater than”
(B) Enter “30d” to find the activities with a total float duration of more than 30 days. See below. To find the activities with a total float >20 days, enter 20d.
That’s it. Now, you should be able to filter out total float activities in P6.
Alright, let’s spice this up a bit:
I’m curious to hear about your experience! Which of these task categories really made a difference for you?
And, have you experimented with any other clever techniques for juggling deadlines in your project? Share your insights!