Fast Tracking vs Crashing: Key Techniques to Compress Project Schedules
There are two ways to reduce the Project Schedule (Time) but not reduce the scope of the project.
Crashing is when resources are added to a project activity. This is done to ensure that the project can be completed quickly and seamlessly, but it can also be expensive.
Fast-Tracking is a method of changing the sequence of activities so that some activities are performed simultaneously. It creates risk by ignoring discretionary dependencies and performing additional activities simultaneously. It doesn’t always increase the Project’s cost.
Project Schedule Compression
This involves compressing or reducing the Project Schedule without reducing its scope to meet schedule constraints imposed on the customer or sponsor. It is not always possible for the schedule to be compressed without increasing the project cost.
It is used:
If the project has unrealistic deadlines or schedule ends.
During Integrated Change Control, to analyze the impact on the Project Schedule (Time, Cost, Scope and Risk, Resources, Quality, Satisfaction, Quality, and Risk).
When the customer or management requires a deadline that cannot be met during project planning.
When the project manager is executing, he or she must bring the project back in line with the scheduled baseline or to approve change requests.
The professional responsibility of ensuring that the project is feasible by properly planning it must be the responsibility of a Project Manager. He/she must use the schedule compression method to determine the completion date that can easily be achieved. If not, what can you do to meet the deadlines or to make the project more manageable?
If there is negative project float, which means that the estimated completion date is later than the desired completion date, would you tell your customer this and ask for more time? The first option is to examine what can be done to prevent negative project float, such as compressing the project schedule.
Many Project Managers use Project Schedule Network Diagram to manage day-to-day operations and make adjustments as needed.
Two techniques to reduce the duration of a project
Crashing and Fast Tracking are not always successful in bringing the project back to the Schedule Baseline.
It involves compressing Project Schedule by rearranging Project Schedule Network Diagram, changing the relationship between activities on the critical path Finish-to–Start to Start–to-Start, or adding lead time for downstream activities to perform parallel activities that would normally be done in a sequence.
Example: By adding lead time to the “Install Carpet Activity” Activity in Project Schedule Network Diagram, we can change the relationship between “Paint Rooms”, and “Install Carpet”.
Before you install carpets, paint the rooms.
Carpet can be installed within hours of a room being painted, if you add Lead Time.
It saves time, but it often results in rework, increases Project Cost and Risk, and requires more attention to communication between the team members to complete the work.
It overlaps with the Phases of Project. Hence, Phase 2 can begin before Phase 1.
To avoid Rework and Risk, interdependencies between Phases must be properly managed.
Make use of the resources already planned.
If the same resources are used for multiple activities, it can lead to overloading. It is possible for resources to work more than 16 hours per day.