Project Management Schedule Compression

Course Project Part 7—Schedule Compression (graded)
Schedule Compression   25
points 1. MSP file after the schedule compression techniques have been applied. highlight the tasks that are involved in the schedule compression process. The starting point should be the MSP file from Week 5.  
2. Submit your MS Project working file (.mpp) in the Course Project Assignment using the proper filename convention.
Report
25 points 1. In an MS Word document, discuss the process of schedule compression, the implementation on this project, and your final results and why you chose what you did. Two or three pages are required. 
2. Submit your Word document in the Course Project Assignment using the proper filename convention.
Make your changes to bring the project back on schedule
The project status as of May 26, 2017 has been reviewed and the executives of the company have decided that we must maintain the finish date of Dec. 28, 2017 for this project even if it requires additional resources and money. The required finish date is by the end of the year. (The project status is the file you submitted for the week 5 assignment.) They are not willing to spend the money or take the risks to reduce the schedule to finish before Dec. 26. 
The good news is you are given the opportunity to make some changes to the project to still complete it on the desired completion date. You can do this by analyzing the critical path activities and then making changes to the project to pull the date in. Make your changes, for example to resources. Analyze the result of these changes to the project dates and the project costs (i.e. the date should improve and then cost may increase. Assume you need to do something proactive to catch up and then explain the impact of those changes.
This is an important part of the project and is not scripted. You need to act as the project manager and make the decision that will get your project back on schedule. You will also need to communicate and justify them to your management in the report. 
It is important that you describe the specific tasks and methods, which are used to accomplish this corrective action. You should also look only at tasks on the critical path. As you compress one task at a time you may find that the CP changes. That can happen and you just have to adjust your next steps.
Assumptions that apply to this project:
• All resources are assigned to the maximum of their availability. If they are assigned less than 100%, it is because they have other non-negotiable assignments for the remainder of their time.
• Tasks cannot be eliminated
• There is no padding or extra time included in any of the duration estimates. That is you cannot just reduce the durations but changing the estimates or “working harder”.
• Overtime is not an option to reduce durations
• All resources can only work in their own skill sets
• Junior or lower level resources are less productive than senior ones. 
• Predecessors cannot be changed or ignored.
• A maximum of 33% overlapping of dependent tasks is allowed when fast tracking. 
• The following task must not start before 67% of the preceding task has been completed. 
• The task that is fast tracked must finish after the completion of the predecessor. 
• You are not authorized to override the SME who estimated the project and change the durations or predecessors. 
Crashing and fast tracking are two methods of schedule compression you may consider but are not limited to these. Scope reduction is not an option. All decisions must be based upon good project management techniques and not what you can make the software do. 
There is a supplemental lesson in week 4 that will refresh you memory about the process of crashing and how to do it in MSP. You will find examples of crashing and fast tracking in MSP in Files > Course Project section. 
Crashing:
If you wish to add resources to a task, reduce the duration you must to change the Task Type under Advance tab to “fixed work”.  You will find this in the “Advanced” tab accessed by double clicking on the task name. This means that there is a fixed amount of work to be done and the more resources you put on the task the sooner it will be completed. If you do not make this change, adding resources will not change the schedule. 
Crashing requires adding resources. If you use crashing by adding resources to an activity, you MUST make the cost of the added resources 150% of the cost of the initially assigned resources. To do this you must use a labor rate in dollars of 150% of the standard rate. This will mean using an additional resource with a higher per hour cost. This is a practical decision because increasing the amount of resources on a task is NOT as efficient at the initial allocations. There are several options for making the costs higher. Which one you choose is your choice as long as it makes business logic. You will find some contractor employees on the resource list that can help out for a higher labor rate. 
Changing the percent, a resource is assigned from 100% to 150% is not an increase in cost and is not practical as that means the resource works 12 hours a day and cost will remain the same. Apply crashing only to tasks that have not started. MSP sometimes gives strange results if you apply crashing to a task in progress. Save yourself the headaches of trying to find out why these happen. 
Fast Tracking:
The other typical method for schedule compression is fast tracking. When considering fast tracking you are not allowed to eliminate predecessors. These are technical and you don’t have the information to just eliminate them. You can make logical decision based upon the task descriptions that would allow you to use a partial overlap of the work at the start/finish of linked tasks to create fast tracking. If you make this decision, you must justify the overlap in your report.
In MSP, this is done by adding a lead time to the predecessor. This is actually done by adding a negative lag time.  You accomplish this in the details of the task in the “Predecessors” tab. For example, if you want a following task to start a week early before the previous task has completed you would need to set the lag to -5 days. You should then see on the Gantt chart the change. Positive lag means you want there to be delay before starting the following task. 
General:
It is a good idea to save a copy of your file with a test name and then play with these two methods in that test file so you don’t mess up our primary work. Both methods are easy to make work after you get the hang of it. Then it is necessary to pick the correct parts of the project and the right tasks to work on. That’s where the project management theory comes in. 

 

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