Join Chris Croft for an in-depth discussion in this video Speeding up your plan, part of Project Management Simplified.
- Okay, so now we move on to step five, which is to speed up your project if you need to. You might be delighted with 34 weeks, it might not be a problem. But let's suppose that you need the project in 30. How can you save four weeks on this plan? Now, before I get into that, I just want to make a really important point, which is don't think about real deadlines while you're creating this diagram. If you really do have a deadline of 30, put that out of your mind when you're estimating these. Because if you start thinking, "Well, we can't put 10 "for the permit, we'll have to put six "because we've only got 30 weeks overall." If you write six on this Post-it note, all that means now is you've got an inaccurate plan.
Just means your plan is wrong. That's still going to take 10 when you actually get there. So you must put what is true on here and then as a separate step after that, you need to think, "How can we do it quicker?" So that's our question, "How can we do this quicker? "How can we save four weeks?" Well, for start, there's no point in saving time on anything other than on the critical tasks. So if I make this from five down to two, it doesn't save me any time at all, because we still have to wait for the 10. So we're only going to be looking at the ones on the critical path and we only want to look at the big ones on the critical path.
So speeding up the installation of furniture is pointless, it's only a two week task, I'd be lucky to gain a week on that. So I want to go for these ones here, the tens and the eight. They're the ones where I can save time. And there are three options for how to save time on this path. And the first one is to put the money up, and by money, it could be people, it could be resources, but just to spend more. So for example, I could probably get the permit quicker by making some sort of extra fast track payment, perhaps.
Or maybe modifying the building, maybe we could work weekends or night shifts or something like that. So that's one option we've got for speeding it up. The second option for speeding it up is to reduce the quality. So when I modify the building, I could decide to not bother with painting or not bother with putting the extra doorway in because I'm really under time pressure, so I'm going to just reduce the quality of the modifying. And we're back to our key driver here, because if time's the key driver, then you will have to either spend more or reduce the quality to get it done.
But you have to pay a price if you want to get it done quicker. So there's the first two choices. There's one other choice, which is overlapping. Almost any task can be overlapped with another. So for example, could I open while I'm still installing furniture, do you think? I think I probably could as long as the front desk looks good. Or could I install furniture while I'm still modifying the building? Yes, I could work through behind each room, maybe only part of the building is still being modified, so I could be installing furniture in other parts. Or right at the start, maybe I could apply for a permit while I'm still choosing the country, because if I'm down to just a short list of two or three, I could apply for permits in all three.
They probably don't cost too much and if it saves me time it's worth it. So overlapping is another option. But overlapping does usually involve a degree of risk. So those are the three choices for speeding your project up. You've got money up, quality down, and overlapping. So I'd just like you to think about your real project that you're doing right now and think, "Can we use any of those to get it done more quickly?" If time's your key driver, you really do need to be thinking about those choices. How can you speed up your real project?
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- Defining project scope
- Deciding how to list tasks
- Estimating costs and time
- Planning for risk
- Staying on budget