Three Techniques to Get You Out of a Schedule Jam

Sunday, February 26, 2017, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

There are maybe a dozen major techniques that can be use to try to get a project back on schedule.

The exact techniques to use are based on the cause of the schedule drift.

Three techniques are described below to help you get out of a schedule jam.

Three Techniques to Get You Out of a Schedule Jam

  1. Fast Tracking

    Fast tracking means that you look at activities that are normally done in sequence and execute them partially in parallel instead.

    For instance, when building a house, the frame cannot be constructed until the foundation is dry.

    However, fast-tracking might include building the walls on the ground while the foundation was drying so that the walls could be erected more quickly when the foundation dries.

    Fast-tracking always involves a risk that you may have some rework later.

    A good rule of thumb is that sequential activities can sometimes be fast-tracked by up to 33%.

    In other words, if you are fast-tracking, you can start the second of two sequential activities when the first activity is 67% complete. There is risk involved; however, at that level of overlap the risk that is normally acceptable.

  2. Implement “Zero Tolerance” Scope Change

    Many projects begin to trend over their deadline because they are doing more work than they originally committed to. This is probably the result of poor scope change management.

    However, if you are at risk of missing your deadline date, the project manager must work with the customer and team members to ensure that absolutely no unplanned work is being requested – even if it is just one hour – without going through proper scope change management procedures.

    All energy should go into completing the work that was agreed to. This does not mean there can be no change.

    However, all changes must go through scope change management for appropriate schedule and budget relief.

  3. Check Discretionary Dependencies

    When you map out the relationship between all of the activities you will notice that some of the activities have a hard dependency and others have a soft dependency.

    Hard dependencies mean that activities must take place in a certain order because of the nature of the work.

    However, in many cases there is discretion in the sequence of the activities. In this case you want to pick the order you feel is the most efficient. This is a discretionary dependency. It is important to know the difference.

As the project progresses, it is important to check these discretionary dependencies. It may turn out the activities can be rearranged to take advantage of resources, or perhaps because you may know more, you can plan a sequence that is more optimal.

Of course, to have an impact, you must identify discretionary activities that are on the critical path or that influence the critical path.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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