When we say that an activity will take a certain number of days or weeks, what we really mean is this activity normally takes this many. We could make it take less time, but to do so would cost more money.
The key is to attain maximum decrease in schedule time with minimum cost. Increasing Your Resources. There are a number of standard and typical approaches to attempting to crash a project schedule. One of the most commonly utilized methods involves increasing the assignment of resources on schedule activities.
This essentially means decreasing the time it takes to perform individual activities by increasing the number of people working on those activities. This makes sense, at first glance. For example, if it takes Bob 4 hours to complete an activity, it would logically take Bob and Sue 2 hours to complete the same activity. Sometimes it ends up taking more time in the long run. Consider the following:. Don't worry, you have other options. Another solution may be fast-tracking, which involves over-lapping tasks which were initially scheduled sequentially.
Or you might be able to optimize your schedule in other areas. Finally, sometimes the best method is some combination of resource addition and schedule activity alteration.
For instance, adding additional, qualified people to the task to be completed earlier and re-assign members with less experience to tasks that do not have a pressing deadline. In addition to re-assigning members so they are more productive, you may be able to re-schedule projects so several items can be worked on at once instead of sequentially. Be creative — you may have to "crash" differently with every project!
The key to project crashing is attaining maximum reduction in schedule time with minimum cost. Quite simply, the time to stop crashing is when it no longer becomes cost effective.
A simple guideline is:. Business and its environment are more complex today than ever before, so project managers must become more rational in their decision making by using the most effective tools and techniques. Before you decide to crash a project, make sure you've looked at all of the possible options and thoroughly evaluated cost analysis models.
That way you can achieve the greatest results for your efforts. Tip: To avoid crashing your schedule in the first place, try implementing some standard project management forms to keep your project on track.
Bright Hub Project Management.Management may also ask you to compress the schedule. Often this happens when your resources are needed for a new opportunity. As per the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition, fast-tracking is a schedule compression technique in which activities or phases normally performed in a sequence, are done in parallel for at least a portion of their duration.
In fast-tracking, you review the critical path and list all vital activities. Then you analyze which ones can be performed partially or fully parallel with other activities.
A Quick Guide to Crashing a Project Schedule
You will not review the activities on the non-critical paths, they have float. Reducing the duration of those activities will not affect the schedule; it will only give more float to them. You should monitor other paths whose durations are close to the critical path. If any other path becomes critical, you will reduce the duration of the new critical path.
In this case, your current path will no longer be critical. To compress the schedule, project managers start with fast-tracking because it does not cost more. However, it increases risk as activities are overlapping. Both activities partially overlap. It will increase the risk but within acceptable limits. Fast-tracking helps you compress the schedule up to certain limits. Continuing beyond the limit will increase the risk, which may lead to rework and further delays.
Afterward, you will start carpentry and electrical works. When you review your progress, you see that you are behind schedule; you have to move faster to complete the project on time. You will review the carpentry and electrical work activities and see if you can perform them in parallel.
Then, you can apply fast-tracking. On a compressed network diagram, activities with lead and fast-track activities look the same. Hence, many aspirants often think the lead is the same as fast-tracking. Lead is a type of dependency that you use while developing a network diagram.
It is already factored into the schedule. On the other hand, fast-tracking is a forced overlap. You do it to shorten the schedule. Fast-tracking increases risks and possible rework, while lead is a dependency type on the network diagram and it does not affect the risk. As per the PMBOK Guide 6th edition, crashing is a technique used to shorten the schedule duration for the least incremental cost by adding resources.
In crashing, you review the critical path activities and find ones that can be completed early with extra resources, that can provide the highest compression with the least cost. While crashing, you will monitor other paths as well. It is possible that the duration of other paths could become equal or greater than your critical path. Initially, you will get a greater reduction in duration with less input cost.
However, as you continue further, the cost will increase and the reduction will dwindle. Therefore, do a cost-benefit analysis. You are constructing a room. According to the duration estimate, two masons will take four days to complete it. You have to reduce the duration of this activity by crashing. You add two more masons to complete the task in two days.
Sometimes, crashing may not produce the desired result.Project crashing becomes an option when the PM recognizes that a particular effort along the project life cycle can be sped up with the application of additional resources. Crashing the project is the process of assigning these resources.
This methodology comes with an increased cost to the project. Depending on the nature of the work the increased cost could become severe.
Resource leveling also speeds up the project, but approaches the issues after identifying that a particular resource is overallocated or nearly overallocated. A fatigued worker will often reduce both the quality and quantity of his or her output. This reduction in output can have a significant impact on the project budget and schedule as the overallocation increases the time necessary to complete the task. Resource leveling is the process by which overallocation is addressed. Like project crashing it is more costly, but resource leveling is done to address a potential failure or delay due to overallocation whereas project crashing assigns more resources to minimize the time assigned to a particular effort.
Project crashing and resource leveling with regards to software development can be extremely problematic. For years Sun Microsystems attempted to develop a new file system to be able to handle large extremely large data sets. They assigned a large amount of programmers to the task in an effort to crash through some of the initial hurdles in the project to no avail.
Eventually a small group of dedicated individuals were able to work through the initial issues and work out a file system capable of handling a Zetabyte of data.
They called it ZFS. Sometimes crashing and leveling work, but for some innovative and specialized projects applying these techniques can be detrimental to project completion. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.
Learn how your comment data is processed. Share this: Tweet. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required.As working professionals, we grapple with multiple projectsbig and small, on a daily basis. Worse, a lack of project scheduling techniques can affect our personal lives as well—with unmet commitments and pending tasks straining relationships and affecting productivity.
Schedule compression offers two important techniques for scheduling time so projects are executed on schedule. Understanding these techniques and their application in compressing schedules can be very useful, whether in professional or personal spheres. Schedule compression refers to techniques used when a project manager wants to shorten the duration of the project without changing the scope of the project.
It can be used when a project falls behind schedule and needs to catch up or to finish the project sooner than originally scheduled. The two techniques you can use to shorten the project duration while maintaining the project scope are fast tracking and crashing. Fast-tracking is a technique where activities that would have been performed sequentially using the original schedule are performed in parallel. In other words, fast tracking a project means the activities are worked on simultaneously instead of waiting for each piece to be completed separately.
But fast tracking can only be applied if the activities in question can actually be overlapped. When you need to compress a schedule, you should consider this technique first, because fast tracking usually does not involve any costs. This technique simply rearranges the activities in the original schedule.
Although fast tracking may not result in an increase in the cost, it leads to an increase in the risk, because activities now being performed in parallel may lead to needing to rework or rearrange the project. And, reworking the project can cause the project to lose even more time.
Crashing is the technique to use when fast tracking has not saved enough time on the project schedule. With this technique, resources are added to the project for the least cost possible. Cost and schedule tradeoffs are analyzed to determine how to obtain the greatest amount of compression for the least incremental cost. And crashing is expensive because more resources are added to the project. Crashing analyzes and categorizes activities based on the lowest crash cost per unit time, allowing the team working the project to identify the activities that will be able to deliver the most value at the least incremental cost.
The results of a crash analysis are usually presented in a crash graph, where activities with the flattest slope are the ones that will be considered first—they lead to an equal amount of time savings, but have a smaller increase in cost.Under the Project Schedule management knowledge area, there is a specific process called Develop Project schedule.
Now, as both of these techniques are resource optimization techniques so their primary focus is to allocate resources in such a way to bring maximum output effectively. We can use Resource Levelling both for human and material resources. We need this tool when shared or critical resources are available only at:. Like when we assign a resource to two or more activities at the same time, it is over-allocation. A resource cannot work beyond 8 hours in a day.
Here, it needs resource-leveling. We need to take care of available supply and based on that we can adjust work duration. Only one resource can do a given activity. If that resource is occupied doing another work on the critical path, the path itself needs to change to include that dependency.
We can say that, if there is a need for Resource Levelling due to resource constraints, we have to go with this resource optimization tool. As a result, it may bring a big change in the project schedule because we have to level it. We do not have more than 45 hours a week to our schedule. Applying this resource constraint may result in a change of project schedule dependencies.
And it may result in a change in project duration. In the image above when we applied 45 hours constraint to a 7-week project, then it became a 9-week project schedule. The primary source is the network diagram. When we create a network diagram, we mainly take care of dependencies mandatory or discretionary between activities. The constraints become visible when we assign resources to these activities.
Resource Levelling may change the critical path of the network diagram. The reason lies in the change in the duration of the project schedule. We can see that change in the critical path is very interesting in this process. And to get this process, I recommend watching the video available at the end of the blog.
Here you can see some disadvantages also. There are many disadvantages as we have to live with constraints. We may need to delay certain tasks due to over-allocation or due to the scarcity of resources. Resource leveling takes care of the bad allocation of resources.When performing project planning activities, the manager will attempt to schedule certain tasks simultaneously.
Fast Tracking and Crashing – Schedule Compression Techniques in Time Management
When more resources such as machines or people are needed than are available, or perhaps a specific person is needed in both tasks, the tasks will have to be rescheduled concurrently or even sequentially to manage the constraint. Project planning resource leveling is the process of resolving these conflicts. It can also be used to balance the workload of primary resources over the course of the project[s], usually at the expense of one of the traditional triple constraints time, cost, scope.
When using specially designed project software, leveling typically means resolving conflicts of over allocations in the project plan by allowing the software to calculate delays and update tasks automatically. Project management software leveling requires delaying tasks until resources are available. In more complex environments, resources could be allocated across multiple, concurrent projects thus requiring the process of resource leveling to be performed at company level.
Resource leveling techniques are closely related with critical path calculations. For that reason, total float, activity sequences and logic of the network diagram effect the required resource quantities per time. Resources are taken from non-critical activities and allocated to critical activities. However, while leveling ensures that resources are not overestimated, avoiding spikes, the method typically increases project time.
Therefore, cost and time analysis should be done before leveling and rechecked after applying the method. Resource leveling Techniques Critical path is a common type of technique used by project managers when it comes to resource leveling. The critical path represents for both the longest and shortest time duration paths in the network diagram to complete the project. However, apart from the widely used critical path concept, project managers use fast tracking and crashing if things get out of hand.
Fast tracking: This performs critical path tasks. This buys time. The prominent feature of this technique is that although the work is completed for the moment, possibility of rework is higher. Crashing : This refers to assigning resources in addition to existing resources to get work done faster, associated with additional cost such as labor, equipment, etc.
Project Management Institute. ISBN Send someone to fetch a child of five. Contents 1 Reference In project management, resource leveling is defined by A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge PMBOK Guide as "A technique in which start and finish dates are adjusted based on resource constraints with the goal of balancing demand for resources with the available supply. Contents 1 Reference.Resource Levelling and Schedule Crashing. Project Execution and control. Projects will often be confronted by time and organizational constraints that limit their ability to obtain human resources.
Sometimes staff can be supplemented through temporary help from technical service agencies. When staffing requirements are identified and constraints are understood, work plans can sometimes be adjusted to fit requirements to available resources. Resource scheduling is one of the greatest challenges for projects without access to large organizational or job-market resource pools.
Project planning should address such issues as redundancy of critical resources, resource capacity, bench strength in vital areas, and contingency plans to handle departures of key personnel. Most of the popular project management software packages enable the project resource planner to assign staff to project tasks, display resource requirements profiles, and adjust the schedule of slack tasks so resource requirements more closely fit those available in the organization.
Some packages can display multiple project resource requirements to facilitate organization-wide resource management, optimization, and leveling. Individual project requirements may be adjusted by manipulating schedule slack in tasks not on the critical path. This can facilitate allocation and leveling of staff throughout the organization.
Unless one person is working on each task full time, the schedule duration on the Gantt chart will not be the same as the effort required. Effort requirements will drive project cost, but durations will drive the schedule. These distinctions are helpful when reconciling project and resource schedules. Efforts to accelerate a project schedule are commonly grouped under the term "crashing" the schedule.
Maybe this term was coined to suggest that there is always some price for driving a project to completion sooner than normal.
There are a number of ways to improve the schedule when your boss says, I need it sooner! Add people to the schedule.Project crashing explained
Additional staff must be added early in a project or they will slow it down while learning the ropes. If you add people, you may also need to add staff for supervision and coordination, so staff are fully applied.