Start dates

When preparing a network we are able to plan for the earliest and latest times an event may start. This is referred to as the 'float' within the network. It shows you a given period of time in which a certain event must start if the project is to stay on track.

Here is a simplified diagram which sets out a five event network. The number of days required for each task is shown between each event.

Diagram of a chart displaying a simple five event network with durations between events given in number of days. From event 1, there are two paths. One of these shows three days before event 2. There are two paths from event 2. One path shows two days then event 4, then one day before finishing at event 5. The second path from event 2 shows four days then finishes at event 5. The second path from node 1 shows four days, event 3, then two days before finishing at event 5.

To help plan the earliest start date for each event we need to keep track of the total number of days for each section of the process.

Starting at event 1, look at the number shown on the path between events 1 and 2. This tells you how many days are required to complete the activity.