How to Speed Up Your Project

In this series of posts, I share what I’m learning as I make my way through Project Management Simplified, a course with management consultant, Chris Croft.

Step 5 of Croft’s The Twelve Steps to Manage a Project Successfully is to consider strategies for speeding up the tasks.

Croft begins with a word of caution about the previous step. He says that when plotting the project path, it’s important to put deadlines out of your mind in order to get an accurate picture of how long tasks will take. In the absence of that, you may be tempted to inaccurately estimate how long tasks will take in order to match the deadline.

Once you have a picture of how long tasks will really take, Croft offers three options if you need to speed up the project.

Three options:

  1. Spend more. For example, can you recruit focus group participants more efficiently if you offer a higher stipend? Can you hire a consultant to handle some part of the work for you?
  2. Reduce quality. Will your funder mind if you skip copy editing your report? Can you get by with fewer participants if you can’t do a thorough job on promotion and outreach?
  3. Overlap tasks. Although it usually involves, a degree of waste, sometimes you can’t overlap tasks. Can you launch your new 8-week program with only the first 4 weeks of the curriculum finalized and complete the curriculum while the program is in process?

If you have a project that you are working on and you need to speed it up, will you spend more, reduce quality, or overlap tasks to try to get it done? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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