Says a guy to me in the pub. ‘I’m on a fast track project, mate. Mental. A million miles an hour. Great fun.’
Funny enough, a Fast Track Project is the exact opposite of that. A Fast Track Project is dull, slow, sane and no fun at all. The kind of project a financier loves to fund.
Very few people are on the Fast Track. What they’re on is a project in a hurry. A project with an unachievable end-date. A project that has no chance of success. A project that is going to spend waaay over it’s budget. It can be fun for the participants but not for the money men. The financiers? They’re goosed.
What’s the Differences Between Fast Track and ‘In a Hurry’?
1. A Fast Track Project has a reason for it’s truncated schedule. And the reason is not ‘we’re late already’.
2. A Fast Track Project is defined by its use of scientific and measurable processes to truncate the schedule. (examples: modularisation, dimensional control, new technology)
3. A Fast Track Project has the processes embedded at the Concept stage
4. Each process used to truncate the schedule is visible and demonstrates the reduction in schedule
5. Each process used has a Duration v Cost analysis. Fast Track Projects are not Low Cost Projects. Fast Tracking costs money.
6. The Fast Track Methodology has the full and unalloyed backing of the project sponsors. Fast Track Projects often fall over when the main contract is awarded and that contractor ‘knows better’.
Example: Modularisation. For projects where the location demands a fast construction duration (offshore, war zone, inhospitable climate) then modularisation is a winner. But it has its own added cost due to extra design and steelwork for the module, transportation and lifting costs. Its big advantage is that it can be constructed in parallel to the main ground works on site. Work can start before people are mobilised to site. The other advantage is that the process work done in a yard is cheaper and safer and of better quality.
The time saved is the overlap of yard and site construction starts + less work on site. A modularised site is Hook-Up, a non-modularised site is Construction. There should be a significant reduction in Safety Incidents on a Hook-Up site.
The saving in duration must be firmly established and the Project Team have to deliver that saving. The Project Team also have to show how the extra money awarded for fast tracking was spent. It’s not a contingency pot.
The cost of Fast-Tracking must be calculated and built into the budget.
The relationship between the two is very simple.
The relationship is simple but the underlying mathematics are not.
Where the lines cross over is not the optimum point between time and cost. The optimal point is where the overall project duration is reduced enough to meet the end date. Check that the project sponsors are willing to pay the price.
It’s best to establish what your desired duration is then check the additional cost. Do it one-at-a-time or you’ll be tangled up for ages.