PMP Control Schedule Process – Part 3
Crashing the schedule
Crashing looks for cost/schedule trade offs. In other words, you are looking for ways to shorten the schedule by applying more resources or by spending more. The intent is to get the most schedule compression for the least amount of money.
Some common ways of accomplishing crashing the schedule includes:
- Bringing in more resources
- Working overtime
- Paying to expedite deliverables
You only want to crash activities on the critical path because that is the path that drives the duration of the project.
The six steps to crash a schedule
Step one. Create a table that shows a regular duration and crash duration, and the regular cost and crash cost for each activity. Then included column that shows the crash cost per day
By looking at the table you can see what the least expensive activity is and the crash duration
Step two. Draw a network diagram that corresponds to the network information for your project
Step three. Fill in the regular and crash durations and the regular and crash costs.
Step four. At the durations for each path and determine the critical path.
Step five. Start by crashing the least expensive activity on the critical path until you have a new critical path.
Step 6. Continue this process until you reach the duration you need, or until you cannot crash any more.
Fast tracking shortens the schedule by overlapping activities that are normally done in sequence. One way of doing this is by changing the network logic adjusting your leads and lags, and changing a finish to start activity to a finish to start with a lead or to a start to start with a lag.
Fast tracking can increase your risk on the project and may necessitate RE work. Do make sure you understand the real relationship between activities when you fast track.
Project management software and scheduling tool
Even though the PMBOK Guide lists project management software and the scheduling tool is to separate tools, they are essentially the same. Project management software can include more than just the scheduling tool: it can include budgeting and estimating software, resource management software, and so on.
The monitoring and controlling knowledge and skills that you should expect to see tested for the control schedule process include:
- Project performance metrics, specifically, effort, duration and milestones
- Variance and trend analysis techniques
- Performance measurement techniques, specifically CPM, PERT, SPI and SV
PMP control schedule process outputs
The outputs for this process are the same as for the control scope process, the differences lie in the types of data:
Work performance measurements are usually earned value numbers for schedule variance and the schedule performance index
Organisational process assets updates are based on causes of schedule variances
Change requests have to do with preventative and corrective actions to bring schedule performance in line with the baseline, or requesting a change to the schedule
Components of the project management plan that you could update include a schedule baseline, the schedule management plan, and the cost baseline
Project documents that could be updated include a schedule and the schedule data
Work performance measurements for the control schedule process can be easily abused behind schedule variances. For example, if a team member is behind on a project activity that he plans to work overtime to catch up, he might not disclose that the activities behind because he thinks he can corrected before anyone finds out.
Another example is if an activity takes more effort than once or forecast by the duration is not impacted by this extra effort, a team member may report that the original effort was sufficient.
In order to avoid this type of behaviour, you need to have clear reporting expectations in your schedule management plan.
The code of ethics and professional conduct
The following honesty standards come from the code of ethics and professional conduct and relate to work performance measurements:
We are truthful in of communications and in are conduct
We provide accurate information in a timely manner
We do not engage in or condone behaviour that is designed to deceive others, including but not limited to, making misleading or false statements, stating half truths, providing information out of context or withholding information that, if known, would render are statements is misleading or incomplete.