Fast 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.
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.
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 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.
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:
- Activities are re-planned to perform in parallel or partially parallel.
- It does not cost you any extra money.
- It increases the risks.
- Additional resources are added to the activities to finish it early.
- It costs you extra money.
- No significant increase in risks.
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