In this video, you'll learn a few approaches for shortening project schedules.
- [Voiceover] Stakeholders can be an impatient bunch. You estimate the project finish date and more often than not, they ask you if you can deliver it sooner. Fast-tracking, crashing, and cutting scope are a few techniques you can use to shorten the project schedule. With fast-tracking, you overlap tasks that normally occur one after the other. For example, if you want to finish installing equipment more quickly, you could have some folks start configuring equipment while others finish placing equipment in rooms.
Fast-tracking is simple to do, because you just overlap two tasks with Finish-to-Start dependencies. The best tasks to fast-track are tasks on the critical path. That's because you shorten the project schedule when you shorten the critical path. In addition, fast-track the longest tasks on the critical path. They shorten the schedule while introducing the fewest number of risks and changes.
Which brings us to the disadvantage of fast-tracking. It increases risk. When you overlap tasks, work that's already complete could be affected by a decision that comes later or by the way other work is done. For example, if you decide to change the equipment layout, some of the hardware configuration might have to be redone. The second technique, crashing, increases the project cost, because it means you spend additional money to shorten the schedule.
Usually, the increased cost is for additional people you put on your tasks. Apply crashing to tasks on the critical path. You don't want to spend money shortening tasks that aren't going to shorten your overall schedule. The key to successful crashing is finding the alternative that shortens the schedule the amount you need for the least amount of money. First, you start with the least expensive tasks to crash.
Then, you crash tasks with higher price tags, only until you've shortened the schedule by the amount you need. A crash table makes it easy to see which tasks you should crash. A crash table includes how much it costs to crash each task on the critical path and the duration you eliminate by crashing them. Crash the tasks with the lowest crash cost per week. If tasks have the same crash cost per week, crash the longer tasks first.
That way, you crash the fewest number of tasks. You can take crashing only so far. At some point, adding more people won't shorten the duration, because people start getting in each other's way and on each other's nerves. In addition, new people aren't fully productive until they get up to speed, and they slow down the existing team members, who have to help them get oriented.
Whether you fast-track or crash, keep in mind that the critical path can change. Some tasks might become non-critical and other tasks may turn into critical tasks. Be sure to review the critical path after every adjustment, to make sure the next task you work on is still on the critical path. The third method for shortening a schedule is to cut project scope. As long as the tasks for the deleted scope are on the critical path, cutting scope shortens the schedule.
For example, suppose the finish date for updating the conference center conflicts with an important conference that's scheduled. You could shorten the schedule by not updating non-essential rooms until later. Fast-tracking, crashing, and cutting scope all help shorten the project schedule. Each has its pros and cons, so choose the method that makes the most sense for the project at hand.
Bonnie Biafore has always been fascinated by how things work and how to make things work better. In this course, she explains the fundamentals of project management, from defining the problem, establishing project goals and objectives, and building a project plan to managing team resources, meeting deadlines, and closing the project. Along the way, she provides tips for reporting on project performance, keeping a project on track, and gaining customer acceptance.
- Defining the components of a project
- What it takes to be a project manager
- Using project management software like Microsoft Project
- Managing project scope, budget, and schedule
- Managing project resources, including people
- Managing project risk
- Initiating a project
- Identifying and managing stakeholders
- Identifying requirements and deliverables
- Developing a project plan
- Building a project schedule
- Assigning resources to tasks
- Understanding the critical path
- Running the project
- Managing teams
- Monitoring performance
- Closing a project
Skill Level Beginner
Project Management Foundations: Communicationwith Doug Rose1h 47m Appropriate for all
Project Management Foundations: Budgetswith Bob McGannon1h 11m Appropriate for all
1. Getting to Know Project Management
2. Exploring Project Management Knowledge Areas
3. First Things First
How to develop requirements4m 19s
4. Developing a Project Plan
5. Building a Project Schedule
6. While You Run the Project
7. Working with Teams
8. Monitoring and Controlling Progress and Performance
9. Closing a Project
- Mark as unwatched
- Mark all as unwatched
Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?
This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.Cancel
Take notes with your new membership!
Type in the entry box, then click Enter to save your note.
1:30Press on any video thumbnail to jump immediately to the timecode shown.
Notes are saved with you account but can also be exported as plain text, MS Word, PDF, Google Doc, or Evernote.