The Crashing And Fast Tracking Of Projects Information Technology Essay

What does crashing a schedule entail. Specifically, what is the point of crashing and what rules must be followed to crash effectively.

Introduction: Crashing (shortening a project schedule) refers to a particular variety of project schedule compression which is performed for the purpose of decreasing total period of time (also termed as the total project schedule duration).The diminishing of the project duration typically take place after careful and through analysis of all possible project duration minimization alternatives in which any and all methods to attain the maximum schedule duration for the least extra or additional expenditure or cost.

The manger when first initiate or start to crash an activity or schedule, comparatively little or small amounts of resources and money require to be spent to get rather big or large reductions in the timing of the project. As the manager keep on doing the reduction in schedules, the relative cost of the project increases.

When the manager says that an activity will take a certain number of days or weeks, what we really mean is that this activity normally takes this many days or weeks .we could make take less time, but to do so would cost more money. Spending more money to get something done more quickly is called “CRASHING”

What does crashing a schedule entail?

In an ideal situation or world, all the schedules will be optimized in a way that the time required for doing the project and the cost required for completing the project will be at a lowest or minimum. This will not all the time case, and though if it will be, our managers and stakeholders who would not be pleased and happy with the predicted date of finishing and completing the project.

The manager will often be asked to reduce or reduce the date of project completion and diminishing and reducing the project finishing and completion date means finishing or completing the activity or the project before time or we can say earlier than the scheduled time.

The foremost and important thing we should know and recognize regarding the project schedule compression or diminishing is that there is no value in making any project or schedule changes to activities or actions that have total float or the free float greater than zero. In other way or words , we can say that the only way by which we can reduce or diminish, the overall schedule of a project or an activity is by reducing or lowering down the schedule of the tasks that are on the critical path. The critical path of the schedule finds out the overall period or duration of the project. Various activities or Items that are not present on the critical path does not have any effect on schedule reduction efforts.

Various means of Crashing a Project or a Schedule:

We can diminish or reduce the schedule of the project by carrying out reduction in the number of days in the schedule of the project, Manager is reducing the number of days in the critical path of the project .This further also carries out the reduction in the number of days and for total float in the activities that are absent on the critical path. Ultimately these activities will have their total float reduced or condensed 2212 to zero and they will join the critical path as well. As the manager continues to carry out reduction in the schedule length, more and more activities will join the critical path, and it will become more and more expensive and difficult to further reduce the schedule. Now let us discuss various means of crashing a schedule:

By carrying out the Reduction in the scope of the project it will generally diminish or reduce the completion date of the project. If the manager or the stakeholder actually wants to complete the project early, the one of the easiest way to carry out reduction in the schedule is to just reduce the scope of the project. And this can be carried out by removing or eliminating some of the necessities or the requirements or also by delaying them to the later date.

Further Additional resources can be utilized in order to shorten the project schedule or timelines. This can be carried out by adding or by accumulating the resources to the project or by utilizing the resources that are already available or present on an over time basis.

Creating additional resources by using mandatory over time is also a way of crashing a schedule.

Fast tracking a special case of crushing ,means attempting to carry out things in parallel that would have usually been planned to be done in the sequence.

Example: Presume that the manager have a project to establish or to install a new gymnasium floor at the college basketball arena. He could begin this by removing or by eradicating the old floor, leveling down the foundation, establishing the new floor, varnishing the new floor and sanding the new floor smooth

Point of Crashing:

A schedule Crash represents an effort to reduce the overall duration of a schedule by either adding resources (human or otherwise) or increasing work hours over time, weekend working).Crashing is generally done as a trade -off between shorter task duration and higher task costs. It must be determined whether the total cost savings realized from reducing the project duration are enough to justify the higher costs associated with reducing the individual tasks. If the cost savings on a delay penalty are higher than the incremental cost of reducing the project duration, than the crashing is justified.

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Rules must be followed to crash effectively:

In order to carry out crashing of the schedule effectively certain rules need to be followed which are as follows:

The first rule of crashing effectively is at the time of crashing the schedule, one should not crash all of the activities, the actions or the activities that have an impact on the schedule are those which have the zero float i.e. all the activities that are on the critical path.

Instead to carrying out crashing for all activities try to compress a schedule, which means that we will be conducting some project activities parallel. So if the choice has been given between crashing and compressing, always try to take compressing first as it is less risky.

There are various risks which are associated with the crashing and these are

Budget: Since we allocate more resources, we need to give or deliver the project on the budget.

Disheartment or Demoralization: Existing resources may get demoralized by the increase in people to complete activities that were originally assigned to them.

Co-ordination: Lack of co ordination as more resources translate to an increase in the coordination and communication challenges.

So in order to ensure the crashing effectively above mentioned rules especially the three risk management rules need to be followed.

Because crashing typically requires us to throw extra resources onto a project, some experts believe that crashing may well cause more problems than it solves. What is the point they are trying to make? What steps should we take to mitigate the ill-effects of crashing?

Answer: As it is quite clear that in order to complete the project timely project manager should evaluate their schedules on a weekly basis to ensure that their project remains on track. If a project starts to drift, and for this there are number of the techniques that can be used to get back on schedule.

Now let’s assume that the project starts to slip dramatically .It may not be possible to get back on track through the typical schedule management techniques. .Let’s further assume that the project deadlines is fixed and can’t change and in this case now we need to employ more dramatic means and one of the most important technique for overcome this situation is “Crashing”.

So in order to adopt the crashing technique, we need to throw additional resources to a critical path without necessarily getting the highest level efficiency or We can say Crashing a project is different in that the manager typically throw more resources at a problem to get it done quicker but this can be tricky .If it’s done as a crises response it can be painful adding extra people as the manager is already under the pump and in this situation we are just adding more problems. Now let’s discuss it with the help of an example.

For instance let’s say one person was working on a ten day activity on the critical path, and if the manager is really desperate to shorten this time frame, he might add a second resource to this activity, and it may possible that the new resources which the manager has hired may not have all the right skills and he might work only for the five days just to reduce the overall time by two days.

So on the surface if we observe the Prior trade off might not make sense because of the following reasons.

The manager has hired the person who is only working for the five days just to reduce an activity by 2 days and he might be getting full amount or the salary which is nothing but the financial burden on the company.

This additional resources may come from with on the existing project team, or these resources may be hired for short term or temporarily from external or from outside the team .One of the main and major aim of crashing the schedule of the project is to decrease or minimize the incremental cost though in switching over for completing some work early of schedule, Crashing generally always leads to some extra incremental outlay to the project.

More resources do not guarantee higher efficiency.

More resources means incremental project costs.

Quality may be affected if the new team members added are not sufficiently trained.

Because of the above mentioned conditions the management will face various risks which are associated with the crashing and these are:

Budget: Since we allocate more resources, we need to give or deliver the project on the budget.

Disheartment or Demoralization: Existing resources may get demoralized by the increase in people to complete activities that were originally assigned to them.

Co-ordination: Lack of co ordination as more resources translate to an increase in the coordination and communication challenges.

And from the above discussion it is clear that the cost of the project has increased or we can say high and will pose variety of threats to the organization such as employees develop various health problems, burn themselves, or faces other big problems in their neglected personal lives because of the overtime and over work load etc and all of this are nothing but the financial liabilities and repercussions to the company.

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So it’s right to say and very much clear from the above discussion that crashing may well cause more problems than it solves.

Steps should we take to mitigate the ill-effects of crashing

Ample of things can disrupt a project plan like underestimated tasks, departing staff, misallocated resources and many more. So in order to overcome all these problems or issues related to the Crashing various steps can be taken to mitigate various ill effects of Crashing and apply these steps to get your project back on schedule and few of them are enumerated below:

Overtime: The one rational way to begin is with over time .If the people will work more hours ,they can do more work done in the equal amount of calendar time .over time seems to be best option if we are near to the completion or end of the project.

Reallocate the Resources: The project manager should try to first understand which all activities are considered most crucial or vital for the success of the project or on the critical path .If the project is tending over dead line ,manager should check if the resources can be taken or moved from other activities in order to help in resolving the issue.

Check all Dependencies twice : Schedule reliance stand for activities that must be finished or completed in a certain order, so if the manager is trending over his deadlines manager should revalidate the dependencies, since it’s likely that the schedule is being extended because of the invalid dependencies between the activities.

Check time Constrained Activities:

Swap Resources

Crash the schedule

Prevent all Scope Change

Improve Process.

Scale back to the scope of work

What does fast tracking entail? Provide a specific, real world example of how it might be employed.

Introduction

Fast Tracking: Fast tracking is a special case of crashing. In fast tracking activities that would have been scheduled in sequence are scheduled to be done with some overlap instead. The use of leads in the logical relationship between activities can be used to facilitate this all the relationships can be changed completely.

Fast tracking is a duration compression technique to shorten the project schedule usually to meet the target dates. Normally this will be done by overlapping and compressing some of the project phases. And this will result in overall shorter project schedule. Most common method of fast tracking is to starting two or more tasks at the same time that were originally planned to start on different time schedule.

Various advantages of fast tracking are as follows:

It’s an option to keep the project on schedule

Compresses or shortens the project schedule

Allows meeting the clients commitments

Disadvantages of Fast tracking are as follows:

Increases risk and potentially causes rework

So as a Project manager, you might be frequently asked by the stake holders to do fast tracking for the entire project as the stake holders always focus on the target date. But as a project manager before carrying out the fast tracking you should entail below mentioned activities:

Meeting the project objectives, resources and quality apart from the schedule

Manager must focus on the overall health of the entire project and analyze to make the right decisions.

Manger should apply his negotiations skills to convince the key stakeholders with his proper justification

Identify all the activities that can run in parallel.

Recognize any potential resource bottlenecks and ensure that the resources are available to optimize the particular tasks.

Ensure that all required resources are committed to the project

For the tasks on the critical path investigate whether adding additional resources can shorten the time to complete.

Check that all tasks on the critical path have correct dependencies identified.

Fast tracked schedules require nimble skilful project management. So if things are moving faster, potential problems have to be identified and corrected quickly otherwise when unanticipated changes occur, it may be too late to avoid reworking the design.

More communication is required to manage fast tracking this often results in more meetings, more emails, more phone calls and generally a high level of management supervision and crises intervention

Example of Fast tracking

Fast tracking is the most useful ad effective way to cut down or to shorten the duration of the project .Managers usually undertakes the technique of fast tracking of a project by scheduling the tasks that were initially planned to run one after the other to run instead running at the together or at the same time.

Although we don’t know it, that the individuals who drive to work can at the same time can drink coffee, reading news paper and doing shaving and are making their commutes as the process of fast tracking and like these disturbing trips ,fast tracking comes with different associated risks or we can say its share of risks.

Example: Consider a couple is organizing or hosting for their friends .So now instead of making the main course first and then making a dessert soufflé the couple decides to prepare the dish while the guests are chatting, you can ask your wife to make the soufflé and in the mean time he can grill the salmon .So this shows that fast tracking working and by this the couple can cut or reduce time from the schedule without give up scope or the quality of the dishes and that too at no extra cost. By the process of fast tracking Not only are the soufflé but also the salmons will get ready at the right time, and the couple can enjoy the company of their friends as well

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The major problem with the technique (fast tracing) is that there is no free lunch or (dessert in this case) or we can say there is always many risks associated with this although the couple personally have an flawless record of soufflé achievement now because of your diverted attention, your wife chafes is at the restrictions of recipes, and therefore there are chances that she could make an error. So if something goes incorrect or wrong the couples schedule could lose balance or the quality, or might be the scope or the budget could suffer.

For example, now the couple in case of something wrong happens have several choices such as

To Prepare a new soufflé (The project finish slips)

Consume or Eat the soufflé as it is (The quality suffers)

Serve some other dish instead of dessert (The scope changes)

Last but not the least buy to buy the dish from the market (So the budget increase3)

So from the above example the process of fast tracking and the various risks associated with the process of fast tracking is clear.

4. When experts talk about fast tracking, they often discuss it in the context of risk. Explain the connection between fast tracking and risk. Why would we undertake the technique (fast tracking) that may elevate risk levels dramatically?

Answer:

Fast Tracking: It is termed as a project schedule compression technique where the various phases that usually would be carried out in series or in sequence are performed side by side or we can say in parallely. Though it is also very much obvious that the fast tracking can result in revise and rework and can further increase the risk .Fast tracking can trades costs for time, but it can in fact enhance or increase the risk of achieving a reduced schedule.

Let’s take a practical Example which will show the relationship between fast tracking and Risk

Suppose A home enhancement or the improvement project intended for completion in 10 days So now If we fast track the project and at the same time paint the walls while laying the carpet, it seems as if we will finish it in 5 days.

So now let’s find out the risk associated with this is:

By carrying out painting and laying carpet, there are the chances or the risk of getting paint on the carpet. So now we have to start with the back tracking to clean the paint from the carpet which will further lengthens the schedule .This chaos and postponement in the project would not have been occurred if the process of painting could have finished before the carpet lying began

Fast tracking is broadly used even this technique has many risks and the burdens are associated with it. But by following the correct situation and by doing the right care, the technique can cut down the critical path in order to complete the project on time. By applying finish to finish logic merely to reduce or to shorten the period of project and the critical path cover the length of the true critical path of the project and the additional risks of doing rework gets introduced.

Signals of the project end date with predictable finish to start logic the customer’s political horizon, financial, and the marketing or, the fast tracking appears to offer the project manager to cut down the schedule of the project. It has been seen that if Fast tracking is engaged in wrong situation, the technique can be a load on the organization on the two aspects which are costs as well as the time.

Reasons to undertake a technique (fast tracking) that may elevate risk levels dramatically.

There are many reasons because of which we undertake fast tracking few of them are as follows:

It’s an best and efficient option to keep the project on schedule

Compresses or shortens the project schedule to an good extent

Allows meeting the clients commitments on time or we can say it help us to go for timely delivery.

Fast track usually indicates that tasks have been arranged to take advantage of non dependent activities that can occur simultaneously, thus shortening the overall project time line.

If we fast track we can start the second of two sequential activities when the first activity is 66 percent complete.

So according to the above discussion it is very much clear that even though we talk about the various risks associated with the technique of fast tracking but still we undertake this technique in scheduling the project.

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