Even the best project managers fall behind on projects from time to time. This happens for any number of reasons, and sometimes a slower approach is fine. Fast tracking is a technique that is often implemented in crisis and/or crunch times so to speak as it involves in taking a specific schedule activity and/or work breakdown event that has been previously scheduled and/or is underway and expediting it in some way or another. It is a project management technique that enables the project manager to identify all possible opportunities on the critical path that has the potential to be performed in parallel. Without further ado, let’s dive into the techniques you can use to save time on your projects.
When faced with the need to fast track a project schedule, there is a need to carry out an examination on the following assumptions before proceeding.
The assumptions are as follows:
- Is your schedule realistic with all the tasks and activities properly identified?
- Are you aware of all possible task dependencies i.e. relationships between tasks (finish to start, start to start etc.)?
- Do you have a solid grasp on project requirements, objectives and priorities?
- Is your working relationship with relevant stakeholders good and are they relevant messages being communicated effectively?
- Do you have established, tested practices for governance, oversight and problem management?
If your answer to the above questions is “yes” then you are on the right path to successfully fast tracking your project. Now that you are through examining the necessary assumptions, the next steps to take as are follows:
- Determine Your Fast Tracking Goals.
- Examine the Project Schedule to Identify Dependencies
- Identify all possible opportunities on the critical path that has the potential to be performed in parallel.
- Where tasks are dependent on each other you can carry out a risk assessment to see how soon you could start the second task even taking into account that the dependent task hasn’t fully completed
- Reconfigure the schedule to allow for concurrent task execution
- Check your resource allocations after you’ve amended your schedule so you are sure that your changes haven’t overloaded one team or individual.
- Seek Consensus for all Fast Tracking Decisions
- Monitor Progress and Track Problems
Dangers of Fast tracking
The main challenge of managing tasks in parallel (apart from the effort involved in having to redo your plan and reschedule resources) is that it adds much more risk to the project. For example, you could buy all the furniture for the new office you are building before it is completed, but you run the risk that the dimensions change slightly during the fit out and the big items you’ve purchased are no longer suitable.
To wrap up, in order to successfully fast track your project, you have to focus on project tasks that fall on the critical path because it is the longest route through the project and it defines the duration. There are softwares that can easily show you the critical path of your project by simply clicking on a button, such software include Microsoft Project 2016 (MS Project 2016) It is a project scheduling software that enables you to plan and monitor your project schedule.
In the course of our Project Management Professional (PMP) training, we teach you how to successfully manage your project schedule, the relevant tools and techniques required and also how to use MS Project 2016 to plan and monitor your project schedule. Click here to sign up for our upcoming PMP training