Suppose you had Harry Potter’s magic wand, you pointed it at all of your projects saying projectus rapidius, and they went faster. Obviously projects don’t speak Latin and those words are not even Latin. Latin would be olior ocius. But that’s not as interesting.

It would be nice to have a magic wand for projects.

If you want to speed up a project, is there a part of the project (system) that will have the biggest impact on shortening the duration? Resources, resource managers, project managers, tasks, suppliers, the customer, communication, tracking, motivation, the team? Perhaps all.

The Critical Path is the longest sequence of tasks in a project; it’s also the shortest sequence of tasks in a project. Since it’s the longest path of the project, it determines the overall duration of the project. And, it also determines how quickly the project can be completed. If you delay a day on the Critical Path, all other things being equal, the project will finish a day later. If you save a day on one of these tasks, the project will finish a day sooner.

Paying attention to these tasks makes sense. More specifically, the one currently in work will tell you if the project, at this moment, is getting better or worse.

How many Critical Path tasks are in work at the same time? Better be one. Not two and not zero. There should be only one Critical Path. It is easier to manage the project if you only need to watch one task at a time. If you watch that one task, and it is going slowly or it’s already late, you can help that task to get done. Then look at the next Critical Path tasks. If you shorten them, the project duration shortens. This is where to focus your attention to crash the schedule. Even if the Critical Path changes as tasks take more or less time than planned, you can probably predict where the path will move and what the next Critical task will be. It will be on another chain of almost the same length.

Don’t try to focus on everything. It doesn’t work. Watch your Critical Path. That’s where the important action is. It’s Critical. That’s where to focus first when delays show up. Managing becomes easier. Your projects go faster.Almost like Harry Potter, you now have a magic spell to take control of your project. This is one of the Secret Paths to fast projects. It’s obvious, simple and magic.

Projectus Rapidius!

Author: Skip Reedy

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