The phrase backward pass was originally used in the field, or more literally on the field, of sport. In one commonly used context, that of American Football, a backward pass is defined as an occurrence in which the quarterback throws the ball to a player that is currently positioned behind the point on the playing surface at which he currently stands, technically a violation of the rules of the sport. In terms of project management, a backward pass also tends to have a negative implication, as it implies lateness. A backward pass in the area of project management refers to the calculation of late finish dates and late start dates for the portions of schedule activities that have not been completed. This is determined by starting at the project’s scheduled end date and working backwards through the schedule network logic. The end date may be set by the assigning party, or it may be determined through use of a forward pass. See also schedule network analysis.
This term is defined in the 3rd and the 4th edition of the PMBOK.