Project Management

When performing schedule analysis in project management you derive the early start, early finish, late start, and late finish for each task.

The "early" dates represent the earliest you can perform a task, based on the estimated durations, and the task sequencing.

The "late" dates are the latest dates that a task can be scheduled without impacting the project end-date.

(If the "early" and "late" dates are the same for a task, it must be scheduled to happen on those dates or the project will be delayed. This kind of task is said to be critical.)

The early and late dates provide you information about when you should/can schedule your task to start, but the date you finally select in your plan for your task to start would be referred to as the (scheduled) start date.

When the task actually starts, this would be referred to as the "actual" start date – potentially a fourth kind of start date.