As many of you can attest, projects can fall behind schedule. This is not a situation that is pleasant for any project manager. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to bring your project back from the brink. The three main ways to handle this problem are:
- Reducing scope
We have discussed fast-tracking in more detail in a previous post “What is fast-tracking?“. Basically this trying to perform tasks that normally occur sequentially in a parallel manner. This can be successful, but it brings increased risk to your project.
Reducing scope is just that. In order to reduce the remaining time you need to complete the project, you can reduce the scope of what is required from the project. This requires buy-in from the project sponsor, but this is sometimes the best solution because it does not increase the risk of the project.
Crashing is the practice of applying additional resources to a task to reduce its duration. This can be applied effectively when the tasks in question support divided effort. However, many tasks do not support this. As we have all heard, you can’t have a baby in one month by involving nine women! Also, throwing additional resources at the task often winds up being inefficient and costly. We will dive more into the process of crashing in a later post.
Basically, there are ways to reduce the time needed to complete your project but they all come with tradeoffs. Following sound project management processes will help you to keep the project on schedule and hopefully prevent you from having to try any of these strategies.