Most Project Managers use the terms ‘Fast-tracking’ and ‘Crashing the Schedule’ interchangeably. And that’s fine. But, strictly, they are different schedule compression methods.
This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy
Two Forms of Schedule Compression
Most of us casually refer to either crashing or fast-tracking. Whichever we use, we mean moving our project more quickly. The fancy terms are ‘expediting the project’ or ‘schedule compression’.
And there are two principal ways we can expedite a project.
And, if you want to be technically correct, one of them is crashing and the other is fast-tracking.
But you know what, I have used both terms to mean both things in the past.
But, my favorite Project Management textbook – Project Management: A Managerial Approach by Meredith and Mantel – is clear.
Schedule Compression by Crashing
Crashing a Project – or Crashing a Timeline – is the use of additional resources to get things done more quickly. We can do this with:
- Extra staff
- Specialized equipment
- Buying in ready-made components (sometimes referred to as COTS or Commercial Off The Shelf items)
Schedule Compression by Fast-tracking
Fast-tracking is the practice of doing work in parallel, that you would normally do sequentially. That is starting one workstream while another is still ongoing. By doing two things at the same time, you can move faster – as long as you have the resources, and there are no dependencies or other constraints that prevent it.
For example, we would normally complete the design of a building before starting construction work. But, if we start the early phases of construction while the final parts of the design are being finalized by a different team, we can (in principle) finish earlier.
However, you can easily see what some of the risks might be!
Schedule Compression Summary
So, in summary, there are two main ways to expedite your project – or compress your project schedule.:
Crashing uses extra resources, or makes greater use of the resources you have. It therefore trades schedule advantage for additional cost.
Fast-tracking makes use of parallel activities and so, by doing things at the same time, rather than after one another, you can trade schedule advantage for additional risk.
Recommended Videos and Articles to Help with Schedule Management
Carefully curated video recommendations for you:
- How to Create a Project Schedule – 21 Steps in 5 Stages | Video
- How to Use Machine Learning in Project Estimating, Scheduling, & Planning
- What is Resource Levelling? | Video
- How to Deduce Project Resource Requirements | Video
Carefully curated article recommendations for you:
- Project Scheduling: Your Essential Guide
- Complete Primer on the 6 Themes of Project Human Resource Management
What Kit does a Project Manager Need?
I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
Note that the links are affiliated.
Learn Still More
For more great Project Management videos, please subscribe to the OnlinePMCourses YouTube channel.
If you want basic Management Courses – free training hosted on YouTube, with 2 new management lessons a week, check out our sister channel, Management Courses.
For more of our Project Management videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.
For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.