What does As-Late-as-Possible mean in project scheduling?


The As-Late-as-Possible scheduling method is used in project management to set the early start and early finish dates of an activity as late as possible, while still ensuring that no successor activity is delayed.
This approach focuses on assigning the latest possible start and finish dates for a particular activity, without causing any delay to the subsequent activities or the overall project timeline. The ALAP method is often used in conjunction with the Critical Path Method (CPM) and other scheduling techniques to help optimize the allocation of resources and ensure project deadlines are met.
As-Late-as-Possible - meaning and definition

Why would you set an activity to start or finish as late as possible?

The As-Late-as-Possible (ALAP) scheduling technique offers several benefits when managing projects, particularly in terms of resource allocation, flexibility, and efficiency:

Optimal resource utilization

By scheduling activities as late as possible without causing delays, project managers can ensure that resources are assigned to the most critical tasks and not left idle. This helps in maximizing the use of available resources and preventing over-allocation or under-utilization.


The ALAP method allows for greater flexibility in the scheduling of non-critical activities. By pushing the start and end dates of these tasks as late as possible, project managers can better accommodate changes or unforeseen issues without causing delays in the overall project timeline. This increased adaptability can be especially beneficial in projects where the scope or requirements may change frequently.

Improved efficiency / minimizing float

By focusing on minimizing the float of each activity and scheduling them as late as possible, the ALAP method encourages a more efficient workflow throughout the project. This can help ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner and that resources are used effectively.

Prioritization of critical tasks

The ALAP technique helps project managers identify and prioritize tasks on the Critical Path i.e. tasks that directly impact the project's completion date. By ensuring that these tasks are completed on time, project managers can minimize the risk of delays and ensure that the project stays on track.

Better decision-making

The ALAP scheduling technique provides project managers with valuable insights into the dependencies and relationships between tasks. This information can be used to make more informed decisions about resource allocation, prioritization, and schedule adjustments, ultimately leading to a more successful project outcome.

In summary, using the As-Late-as-Possible scheduling technique can lead to better resource utilization, increased flexibility, and improved efficiency in project management. By focusing on minimizing the float of activities and prioritizing critical tasks, project managers can ensure that projects are completed on time and within scope, while also accommodating any necessary changes or unforeseen challenges.

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