Fast Tracking & Crashing – Schedule Compression Techniques in Time Management

Fast-Tracking-Crashing-Schedule-Compression-TechniquesFast Tracking and Crashing are important project schedule compression techniques that help the project manager to shorten the duration of the project. These techniques are used to compress the schedule when no change in project scope is required.

This topic is also very important for the PMP Certification Exam. You may see one or two questions from this topic on the PMP Exam.

Okay, let’s get started…

Before we go any further, let us find out that why the schedule compression tools are required.

The answer is very simple, just continue reading…

In the following cases, you may need to use the scheduling compression techniques to shorten the duration of the project schedule:

  • Your client wants to finish the project early.
  • You may need to finish the project early so that you can move onto another project or because of any other opportunity.
  • While planning, you estimated the duration of all activities optimistically, and now in reality things are little different.
  • You may also need to compress your schedule because of market demand. For example, let us say that one of your competitors has suddenly launched the product; therefore, you may also need to speed up to launch your product in the market as well.
  • The project is already delayed, and to bring it back on schedule, you may need to use the schedule compression techniques.

Schedule Fast-Tracking

In Schedule Fast-Tracking, you review the critical path and find out that which activities can be performed parallel or partially parallel to each other.

This is important to understand that you will review the activities on the critical path because on other paths, activities are having the float; therefore, there is no need to shorten the duration of those activities. Moreover, you also need to watch other paths whose path duration is near to the critical path duration because as the duration of your current critical path becomes shorter than any other path, it will no longer be a critical path.

Once you find out that which activities can be performed simultaneously or partially parallel, you will start working on those activities so that the duration of the schedule can be compressed or shortened.

The benefit of fast tracking in schedule compression is that it does not cost you any extra money; however, it comes with some amount of increase in risks because you are performing many activities in parallel which were originally planned in other ways.

Schedule Fast Tracking

Let us say that you are constructing a school building. Construction work is almost finished, and next step is to start carpentry work, then electrical work, and so on…

Now you have to compress the schedule. Therefore, you review these two activities and find out that you can run these two activities in parallel or partially parallel. Therefore, as the electrical works starts you also call the carpenter to start the carpentry works.

Schedule Crashing

Schedule Crashing is another schedule compression technique in which you add extra resources on the project activities to reduce the activity completion time.

In schedule crashing, you will review the critical path and see that which activities can be completed by adding extra resources.  You try to find such activities which can give the greatest reduction by adding least amount of resources or cost. Once you find those activities, you will add extra resources to finish them before their planned completion date. Also, you will keep tab on the other near critical paths.

When you start the schedule crashing process, initially you will get more reduction in duration with less cost input; however, as you continue to reduce duration, cost increases at very fast rate with less reduction in time.

Under crashing, you may add extra resources, for example you might bring in some more equipment, or  allow overtime, or do both things together, etc. However, you have to note that you cannot apply this technique on all activities. For example, in concrete work, you have to wait until the concrete dries.

Schedule Crashing

Let us say you are constructing the room walls for the school building. As per your duration estimate, it will take four days for two masons to complete this task.

Now, you have to reduce the duration of this activity through crashing. Hence, to complete this activity before the planned date, you will add two more masons so that this task could be completed within two days.

This was all about the fast tracking and crashing in project scheduling compression techniques,  and I hope you would have enjoyed reading this post. At last let us summarize all points once again:

Fast Tracking

  • Activities are re-planned to perform in parallel or partially parallel.
  • It does not cost you any extra money.
  • It increases the risks.

Crashing

  • Additional resources are added to the activities to finish it early.
  • It costs you extra money.
  • No significant increase in risks.

image credit => FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

  1. Bada says

    Awesome i got the explanation. Great to have people like you on the face of earth.God will continue to increase your Knowledge and Understanding.

    Bada.

  2. Taofeeq says

    Am really understand the explaination. Thanks so much, may alimighy God continue to bless you.

  3. venkat says

    Hi,

    I have one question regarding crashing will increase the cost of the activity.

    I have an activity in which two guys are working and it would take 4 days to complete the work. The charge for these guys is say $100 per day. So for 4 days it will take $800. Now if I add two more resource and now four guys can complete the same work in 2 days. Still the cost is same $800.

    I have used crashing technique to do schedule compression but the cost has remained same. Where is the cost increase..

    Venkat

    • Fahad Usmani says

      It is not always possible that if a job can be finished by 2 guys in 4 days, you add 2 more guys and job is finished in 2 days.

      Why?

      Because there is always a decay in efficiency in performance if you bring more guys to the activity to complete task sooner.

      I mean, if 2 guys finish a job in 10 days, then 4 guy may finish this job in either 5 days or 6 days. It is not always true that they will finish the job in 5 days.

      It may also be possible that the new guys may have the less skill than the guys you have because your old guys have a experience in handling the task and are selected just because of that.

      Moreover, since you are bringing new guys in hurry, you may have to pay them higher than they guys already working on your project.

      Also, assume that you have 2 heavy equipment with you. Since you want to finish this job early, you are renting two more equipment from open market, which will cost you a lot.

      Same is true for consumables, you may end up purchasing them at higher price.

      There is also a chance of rework…

      Point is, there are many possibilities that can increase the cost. It is just not only the human resource, there are others factors impacting it as well…

      • Muhammad Irfan says

        on the question/proposal of venkat , i want to comment an example ……….
        One Woman can give a child birth / produce one baby in nine months, now 9 women jointly can’t produce one baby in one month.
        So, depends on nature of work and way of work.

  4. Muhammad Irfan says

    Time on the Day of Judgement: A Great Motivator!

    The feet of each slave of Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa will not move on the day of judgement until four questions are asked:

    1. How did you spend your life?

    2. How did you spend your youth?

    3. What did you do with your knowledge?

    4. How did you make your wealth and how did you spend it?

    Let’s learn now how we can answer these questions on that dreadful day before it’s too late!
    Quran is the first book that provides a great way to manage time. In each verse there is a divine guide that teaches us how to invest the time and achieve success in this world and the Hereafter.

    Lot of things…………… you can write whole life on these topics, but dear brother , i request you to please give some religious references in your articles.

    • Fahad Usmani says

      It depends on many factors, such as duration of the activity, duration of successor and predecessor activity, its relationship with other activities, resource available with you and finally whether the activity can be crashed or not.

      There is no universal answer to this question as the project manager has to take decision based on many things…

  5. Daniel Koshy says

    Hello All
    Can someone please share their thoughts for this one?
    I don’t want to type in the entire question, but basically you are under budget and 3 weeks behind schedule. After an EAC assessment, your values are ($450,000) and it will require 4 more weeks to complete the project. What should you do?
    a)crash b) fast track (the other 2 options are goldplate and outsource..ridiculous I know)

    I picked a) crash, because I thought since you are under budget, its not a constraint for you, you can add in more resources, more experts..whatever the money can afford you to complete the project sooner, with the advantage of lesser risk as compared to the correct answer of b) fast track. But doesn’t fast track introduce more risk?

    • Fahad Usmani says

      Even if you are under budget, you will first look for fast tracking because it saves money. If it is not possible, you will go crashing.

  6. Lax says

    Hi Fahad,

    All of your blog post are very nice and clear.

    Compare to other blog posts, I think you forgot to elaborate Risk while Fastrack and Rework while Crashing with examples. Any way its nice.

    Thanks,
    Lax

  7. Lax says

    Hi Venkat,

    You need to consider the LAW of Diminishing Returns ” The marginal productivity of the workforce decreases as output increases, diminishing returns do not mean negative returns until (in this example) the number of workers exceeds the available work space.”.

    What Mr. Fahad was explained same thing in his reply.

  8. gulmadulma says

    How crashing affects the overall project goal and strategy ?
    Effectiveness of crashing technique in project management for industry ?

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