What Is a Hammock Activity in Project Management?
A hammock activity in project management is a term used to describe a grouping of tasks that float between two end dates. A hammock activity (also known as a hammock task) includes tasks that are:
- Small subtasks, rather than large project milestones or contributions
- Unrelated to each other in terms of timeline, meaning there are no dependencies or a logical order they need to be done in
Why is it called a hammock activity? Well, because this collection of tasks hangs between two dates, sort of like a hammock hangs between two trees.
One of the best ways to understand this concept is with a hammock activity example. Imagine that you’re hosting an educational webinar for your customers, which is happening next Friday. You’ve already planned out your major project tasks like finding a subject matter expert and creating a landing page where attendees can sign up. But you know that you also need to:
- Test your technology to make sure it’s working properly
- Add images to your presentation slides
- Write a loose script for your introduction
- Come up with some questions to fill in the Q&A portion if necessary
None of those tasks are hierarchical or dependent on each other. You could start by polishing up your slides or you could begin with your test run — where you start doesn’t make a difference. You can do those subtasks in any order, as long as they’re done by the date of your webinar: next Friday.
That’s exactly what a hammock activity is. It’s this collection of subtasks that don’t have distinct deadlines or sequences of their own. They just float within your project, between your start date (when you began working on the webinar) and your end date (when the webinar is happening). The hammock itself is flexible and can be adjusted if your entire project schedule changes.