Crash Free for Faster Projects

Crashing a project may be necessary to get the project to complete in a shorter period of time. It usually means adding resources, rearranging the plan, reducing the deliverables and spending money to go fast. It is challenging, painful and often unsuccessful.

Don’t Hit It Head On
To get a project done faster, keep people focused on one task at a time until they finish it.
Hide all the dates for the tasks and the project (Start, Finish, Duration, Timeline).
Make sure the Critical Path tasks get priority.
Collect task status as remaining duration, not as percent complete.
In status meetings, ask three questions: What’s going on? What are you doing about it? Do you need any help?
Blame is not allowed.

Is It a Crash If It Doesn’t Hurt?

Let’s see what will happen.
Multitasking is considered to be a Project Manager’s most important skill. It’s not. It’s a “skill” that is a disastrous time-waster. Focusing on one thing until it’s complete minimizes it. Everyone will get a lot more done.

If people know when something must be finished, they “know” they have that amount of time to do it. If it’s more time than they need, they know they can “take their time” doing it. However, if they have only one thing to work on and know they are to get it done quickly, they generally will do it quickly.

The Critical Path is supposed to be the determinant of how long a project will take. If a Critical Path task is ready to be worked on and is delayed a day, the project completion is delayed a day. Saving a day on the Critical Path means the project finishes a day earlier. If a feeding path delays a Critical Path task, that delays the project.

When a task is 50% done, that could be 50% of the planned time, somewhere in the middle of it or 50% of the actual effort required. If a 10 day task is 90% done, will the remaining 10% take 1 day or 15 days?

Remaining duration should be the estimate of the person who is in the best position to know, the one working it. Knowing the remaining duration of the current tasks and the planned durations of the remaining tasks, gives us the current best estimate of when the project will complete.

With clear information, status meetings are much more useful. Only ask about the few tasks that make a difference. Find out what is going on and what is being done. Help can be offered if appropriate. Unneeded management attention often slows the work down.

You will be amazed at how fast a project can be completed.

A successful crash doesn’t need to hurt at all!

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