Timetable compression is a project management strategy for shortening an already determined schedule. This might be done to meet a revised delivery deadline, a fresh opportunity, or a timetable delay. It is accomplished without altering the program's scope. Instead, it changes how much time is spent working on each task.
Compressing the schedule means moving some tasks around to make room for new opportunities or changes in priorities. We always want to keep our highest priority tasks first, so they will get done first. Lower priority tasks can be postponed to another time or dropped if we cannot find anyone willing to take them on.
There are two types of compression: substantive and procedural.
Substantive compression moves major resources off tasks that are not going to be completed by their due date. For example, if a task requires input from one of your key employees but you don't have enough information on their health issue, you could reserve part of their day to communicate this fact instead. This allows you to meet the needs of your most important customer while keeping your other customers satisfied as well.
Procedural compression shifts minor adjustments into existing timesheets or worklists. For example, if one of your employees notices that they are behind on some projects because everyone else is busy, they could request that you give them more time next month by filing a petty slip.
1 Defining a schedule shortening without lowering the project scope. This frequently necessitates an increase in project costs. Also known as "schedule compression" or "time crunch."
Duration compression is the process of reducing the length of time it takes to complete a task or project, while maintaining its quality level. It can be done by cutting some tasks out of the project or adding more time to some parts of it. Since this makes the project finish later than expected, duration compression usually requires more resources (staff or tools) than the original project did. For example, if it takes one person one month to write a book, then doubling the number of people required would make writing the book take two months even though nothing else about the project changes. Similarly, if building a house uses tools that cost $10,000 each and take one day to use up, then adding more days to the project would require buying new tools or using old ones more intensively which would also increase the cost.
Duration compression is commonly used in projects that have strict deadlines, such as patents applications or product launches. If these projects cannot be completed in time, then either the scope of the project needs to be reduced or additional staff or resources need to be recruited to meet the deadline.
Also called "schedule acceleration".
Both techniques are required to develop and control a schedule, but the sole purpose of schedule compression techniques (fast tracking or crashing) is to reduce the project schedule, whereas the sole purpose of resource optimization techniques is to balance resource demand and supply by adjusting the schedule. Fast tracking can be considered a form of resource optimization while crashing represents the use of more resources than required.
Resource optimization can be done by: reducing the number of tasks available for completion (task reduction), changing the size of tasks, changing the dependency relationships between tasks, changing the order in which tasks are performed, changing the start date/time of tasks, and changing the end date/time of tasks.
Task reduction means removing some tasks from the project plan. For example, if task A takes longer to complete than task B, you could remove task A from the project plan. This makes room in the schedule for task B to be completed first. Balancing resource demand and supply means putting additional resources into the project to finish all the remaining tasks as soon as possible. For example, if task C requires more resources than task B, then you would need to find more people to work on the project.
Fast tracking involves using excess resources to complete parts of the project that have already been scheduled for later in time.