Project Management Fast-Tracking: What It is & How It Works

project management fast-tracking

Project management fast-tracking is the perfect solution when tight deadlines push you against the wall, and clients are breathing down your neck. Although it may sound harsh, this is something that often happens, whether we like it or not.

Naturally, everyone strives to get the most from their team, all while keeping clients and customers satisfied. That’s where project management fast-tracking comes in—it’s the perfect way to accomplish this.

But what is fast-tracking, and how can it help you? We’ll guide you through the answers to these questions and many more. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Fast-tracking in project management involves expediting project schedules by overlapping or compressing activities.
  • It’s a strategy used to meet tight deadlines, respond to market demands, or gain a competitive edge.
  • Fast-tracking can be implemented by identifying a project’s critical path, determining activities that can be executed in parallel, and assessing risks and benefits.
  • Resource allocation, the use of project management software, and continuous monitoring are essential for successful fast-tracking.
  • While fast-tracking offers benefits like faster project completion, early realization of benefits, competitive advantage, resource optimization, and improved stakeholder satisfaction, it also presents risks that must be carefully managed.

What is Fast-Tracking in Project Management?

Fast-tracking in project management is a strategy used when it’s necessary to accelerate the completion of project tasks, usually to meet tight deadlines for specific project phases or respond to urgent market demands.

Accelerating task completion involves concurrently conducting different activities that are not interdependent, meaning one doesn’t have to wait for the other to be completed in order to start.

Instead, you can carry out various activities simultaneously. In other words, to fast-track, you need to speed up a process by finding activities or steps that can run simultaneously instead of one after the other.

In traditional project management, activities are generally performed sequentially, following a predetermined order, with a clear start and end point. This sequential approach ensures a focused execution of work tasks and quality outcomes but can be time-consuming.

On the other hand, organizing activities in parallel can reduce focus and increase the likelihood of minor errors, but it significantly speeds up the process.

Let’s consider a project management fast-tracking example in the context of software development.

Suppose you’ve finalized the core functionality of a software application but haven’t yet fine-tuned the user interface and design elements. Fast-tracking in this context means you can start coding and developing the core functionality while simultaneously working on the user interface and design rather than waiting for the entire design to be completed.

To effectively implement fast-tracking, project managers need a clear understanding of the project’s critical path, which encompasses all the activities for different tasks, their durations, and dependencies among them.

Determining the critical path helps you identify activities that are not interdependent and enables you to execute them in parallel. Depending on available resources like workforce and equipment, you can organize these activities to run concurrently, achieving aggressive project timelines.

What is Schedule Compression in Project Management?

Schedule compression is a technique that project managers use to complete planned activities in less time than initially planned. The goal is to achieve a specific task or phase within the intended scope of work and according to predetermined quality standards but in a shorter time than initially outlined in the project plan.

This method is often applied when there’s a need to meet project deadlines, respond to unexpected delays, or deliver a product ahead of competitors to seize market opportunities. This approach ensures that project objectives are achieved within the desired timeframe, which is often essential for maintaining stakeholders’ satisfaction and financial viability.

The two primary components within schedule compression are project crashing and project fast-tracking. In the section below, we will delve into the meaning of the project crashing and the differences between these two schedule compression components.

What is Project Crashing in Project Management?

Project crashing is a project management technique used to accelerate a project’s schedule by reducing the time it takes to complete certain critical activities. The goal is to meet tight deadlines or cope with unexpected delays without compromising quality.

Here’s how project crashing works:

  • Identifying critical activities: Project managers first identify the tasks that cannot be delayed without delaying the entire project (critical path).
  • Analyzing options: Project managers then assess various options for speeding up these critical activities. This might involve allocating additional resources, like adding more workers or equipment or finding ways to streamline business processes.
  • Implementing changes: Once a plan is in place, adjustments are made to the project’s schedule, management, and budget to facilitate faster completion of critical activities.
  • Monitoring progress: Throughout the project, managers closely monitor the progress of these accelerated activities to ensure they are on track and achieving the desired time savings.

Now, let’s get into the fast-tracking vs. crashing in project management dilemma and learn about their differences.


Project management crashing involves allocating additional resources during the execution of activities to achieve the previously described effect—accomplishing the planned work in a shorter time frame.

In a simple fast-track project example, instead of having two employees load goods over eight hours, an additional two employees are engaged to load the specified goods in a shorter time frame.


On the other hand, achieving schedule compression is possible through schedule fast-tracking. This approach entails scheduling activities that can run concurrently—activities that are not interdependent.

project management fast-tracking

5 Key Risks of Project Fast-Tracking

While it can be effective in reducing project duration, project fast-tracking also can face risks that project management should be aware of. These risks include:

  • Increased risk of errors: When activities are compressed or overlapped, there’s a higher chance of mistakes and oversights. Rushed work can lead to rework and the need for corrective actions, ultimately affecting the project’s success.
  • Resource overload: Fast-tracking often requires additional resources to support concurrent activities. This can strain the availability of skilled personnel, equipment, or materials, leading to resource conflicts, burnout, and decreased productivity.
  • Communication challenges: Rapid changes in the project schedule can make it challenging to maintain clear and effective communication among team members, stakeholders, and suppliers. Misunderstandings and misalignment can occur, leading to confusion and delays.
  • Increased risk of uncertainty: Fast-tracking may necessitate making decisions with incomplete information or before critical data is available. This introduces uncertainty, making it difficult to assess the full impact of choices and potentially leading to unanticipated problems down the line.
  • Quality compromise: In the rush to expedite project schedules, there is a heightened risk of compromising the quality of work. Faster timelines can lead to shortcuts, reduced testing and quality assurance efforts, and a focus on meeting deadlines rather than delivering a high-quality end product.

How to Fast Track a Project?

To successfully fast-track a project, follow these steps:

#1. Identify a Critical Path

Begin by identifying the critical path, which represents the sequence of activities that determine the project’s overall duration. These activities must be completed on time to avoid project delays.

#2. Determine Activities

List all project activities and categorize them based on their dependencies. Identify which activities can be overlapped or compressed without compromising the project’s quality or scope.

#3. Assess Risks and Benefits

Evaluate the potential risks and benefits of fast-tracking. Consider factors such as increased resource management, potential quality trade-offs, and the impact on project stakeholders. Ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

#4. Allocate Resources

If fast-tracking requires additional resources, allocate them strategically. This may involve adding more personnel, equipment, or funding to support accelerated activities.

#5. Utilize Project Management Software

To streamline the implementation of fast-tracking measures, consider using project management software or tools such as Asana or These tools can help through schedule visualization, time tracking, and communication.

#6. Create a Revised Schedule

Develop a revised project schedule that reflects the fast-tracking plan. Ensure that it accounts for the overlapping or compressed activities and sets new, ambitious deadlines.

#7. Monitor Progress

Continuously monitor the project’s progress, paying close attention to the fast-tracked activities. Adjust the plan as necessary to address any issues or deviations from the schedule.

#8. Communicate Effectively

Maintain open and transparent communication with the project team, stakeholders, and suppliers. Ensure that everyone is aware of the fast-tracking plan and understands their roles and responsibilities in achieving the accelerated schedule.

#9. Quality Control

While speed is essential, make quality control a top priority. Implement quality assurance processes to prevent errors and ensure that the project deliverables meet the required standards.

#10. Risk Management

Continue to assess and manage risks throughout the fast-tracking process. Be prepared to address any unforeseen challenges promptly.

#11. Evaluate Results

After project completion, conduct a thorough evaluation to assess whether the fast-tracking approach achieved its objectives. Identify lessons learned to improve future project management practices.

5 Project Management Fast-tracking Benefits

While project management fast-tracking carries certain risks, it also offers several benefits that can be advantageous for project success. Here are five key advantages of fast-tracking in project management.

  • Faster project completion: The primary advantage of fast-tracking is the ability to complete the project sooner than initially planned. This can be crucial in scenarios where time is of the essence, such as when responding to market demands or regulatory deadlines.
  • Early realization of benefits: By expediting project activities, fast-tracking allows organizations to start reaping the benefits of the project earlier. This can include increased revenue, improved efficiency, or enhanced customer satisfaction.
  • Competitive advantage: Fast-tracking can give organizations a competitive edge by enabling them to bring products or services to market faster than competitors. This agility can be a game-changer in industries with rapid technological advancements.
  • Resource optimization: While fast-tracking may require additional resources, it can also optimize resource allocation. By streamlining activities and avoiding prolonged idle periods, organizations can use their resources more efficiently, potentially reducing costs in the long run.
  • Improved stakeholder satisfaction: Meeting or beating project deadlines often leads to higher stakeholder satisfaction. Customers, investors, and team members are more likely to be pleased when projects are completed ahead of schedule.

Final Thoughts

The advantages of fast-tracking in project management are clear. By strategically overlapping and expediting activities, projects can be completed more quickly, meeting tight deadlines and gaining a competitive edge.

This approach accelerates the realization of project benefits, optimizes resource allocation, and increases stakeholders’ satisfaction. However, it comes with risks like potential errors and compromises in quality.

So, if you’ve already decided to apply this project management approach, make sure you’ve taken all the necessary steps listed in this article to successfully achieve set goals.

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