Schedule Compression

Schedule Compression Techniques

What is Schedule Compression?

When a project gets extended due to unavoidable circumstances then a project manager is required to shorten the project duration to finish the project within deadline. The important thing that needs to be considered is how to get the project into schedule baseline (back to track) with possible minimum additional cost. This is truly based on time versus cost trade off based on the independent situations. To shorten the project duration there are few techniques that can be used as follows:

Crashing

This technique is used by deploying more resources to the project or by overtime or by expediting the process. This is said that getting the project back into track using the least incremental cost. This method will work only for the activities where additional resources will shorten the project. Remember, this method always means additional cost.

Fast Tracking

This technique is deployed by performing the activities in parallel that are planned to do in sequence. This will work only for the activities that can be overlapped and remember, this method always carries a risk with it.

Example:

Project Manager Mr. Cutter managing a project ‘compress me’ that has 7 activities with a CPM of 48 days.



From the above PDM (Precedence Diagramming Method) we will consider the following situations

Activity ‘E’ getting delayed by 4 days due to its outside dependency on acquiring software:

By delaying 4 days makes the second path to 46 days which is still less than critical path of 48 days. So our PM Mr. Cutter sits happy relaxing and watching the progress doing nothing on cutting.

Activity ‘E’ getting delayed by 8 days due to its outside dependency on acquiring software:

By delaying 8 days makes the second path to 50 days making it a critical path now. Now Mr. Cutter gets alerted and looks at the dependency of the activity ‘F’ and ‘G’ to see if he can do any one of them parallel to reduce the path length. One of the option he could do here is if the activity ‘E’ can be performed parallel  as you see down without affecting to due date.

Or Crash the activity ‘F’ or ‘G’ with additional resources based on the additional cost. By seeing the chart below Mr. Cutter decides on which activity to crash to meet the deadline with minimal cost impact.

Activity                 Days Saved         Additional Cost

F                              8                              $400

G                             10                           $450

Based on the above chart Mr. Cutter will decide to crash the activity ‘F’ as it has minimal cost impact with maximum compression.

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