Lag and Lead Time in Project 2013 Tasks

By Cynthia Snyder Stackpole

Dependencies can become a little more complex than simply applying the four types of dependency links in Project 2013. You can use lag time or lead time to fine-tune your timing relationships.

Lag time occurs when you add time to the start or finish of a predecessor task; lag time causes a gap in timing, which delays the start of the successor task. For example, a period almost always exists between sending out a Request for Quote for a service and receiving the quotes.

When you show a lag, you show the plus (+) sign and then the amount of lag. For example, a lag of one week is shown as +1wk (wk is the abbreviation for week). Therefore, the relationship between Send Out RFQ and Review Quotes is FS+1wk.


Lead time is created when you accelerate time between the start or finish of the predecessor; lead time causes an overlap between two tasks. In Project 2013,this concept is sometimes referred to as fast tracking.

Suppose that you want to accelerate the timing for the volunteer onboarding process. Rather than wait for all the volunteers to sign up and complete their paperwork, you decide to start assigning key roles and begin training some volunteers early. The Complete Paperwork task and the Assign Roles task have a finish-to-start relationship. However, to accelerate the process, you insert a lead of one week.

A lead is considered a negative lag, so this relationship is shown as FS-1wk.