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ELENBRIO : Amazing Facts about Crashing and Critical path in the Project Schedule

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Crashing and Critical Path in Project Management.

Fast-Tracking vs Crashing

There are two techniques that can be used to shorten the complete project duration and maintaining the project scope. You might have used various techniques and Fast Tracking ,might be one of them.


Crash it for faster execution or Fast Track it for faster execution.

Actually in reality and used more frequently , crash it when you want to make it finish faster.

Case Study : You’ve done complete analysis in a project schedule, collected the duration estimates with the help of team, and also had developed a beautiful project schedule.

Next Day you are ready to provide it to your sponsor or customer .

Surprisingly while presenting to customer you hear “Get it done faster”.

You agreed to make it faster .

You made activities to go in a parallel mode instead of sequential. After execution the realization was alarming "You did not save enough time on the schedule by parallel development".

Let us now change the approach to crashing .This will analyze critical activities .

Fast-tracking did not accelerated the schedule , we are now considering adding resources to the project’s critical activities. As a PM, you will want to consider that which resources have the lowest associated costs and might start with the lowest incremental cost .

Relevance of Crashing

The relevance of the crashing is based on the magnitude and impact of the 3 R.

  • Resource

  • Risk

  • Right time


We need to understand that can we perform crashing when the resource cost is very high.

Resource and it's cost consideration is the first pointer for this.


Risk determines that can we crash the schedule. Higher the Risk of not meeting the timelines , we might go with crashing as the first choice.

Right Time

Time and tides waits for None. Time never waits and we need to perform the crashing in the right time as might have to loose the productivity.

Concept : . Technique where cost and schedule trade-offs are analyzed to calculate and forecast the greatest amount of compression in the schedule for the least incremental cost.


  • Based on the lowest crash cost per time unit (/ Day ) .

  • Team to identify activities that would produce the maximum value at the least incremental cost.


  • The results of a crashing analysis can be plotted in a crash graph.

  • Activities with the flattest slope would be considered first with priority, they would be most time savings .

Factors to be considered

Change : Adding the resource to the project.

Cost : Crashing would not increase the cost and risk.

Risk : Risk could be due to new resources added in the mid of execution.

Relationship : Their is generally no change in any relationship in activities.

When to use crashing

  • High pressure for time to market.

  • Unforeseen delays in Project.

  • Delay due to any new Risk.

  • Incentives for finishing early.

  • Imposed deadlines.

  • Pressures to move resources to other projects.

Best Practices for Crashing in your Project

Last Option : Crashing a project is usually done as a last resort.

Critical Path

A critical path has chain of activities that spans throughout the length of a project. Reducing the timing of any activity in such path will bring down the total project completion time. Similarly, a delay in any such an activity will cause a delay in the complete project.

The activities on the critical path are targeted in project crashing . Crashing an activity that is not on the critical path will not impact the total time needed to complete the project.


Cost, Benefit and Risk Analysis

Most activities can be crashed in the critical path. We need to do an analysis with comparison between the cost that is involved in crashing the activity and the quantum of the benefit it can provide. This is used to arrive at a decision on which activities to crash based on the Risk Analysis.

Resource Availability

If an activity does not require a unattainable and unavailable skillset, it would be pretty easy to find people to work on it and would be easy to crash. Organizations generally have availability of skilled professionals that can be used for the specific activity . Easy availability of such resources is considered while considering crashing a project.

Training Needs

If an activity needs a specialized and unique skillset, then it will be tool hard and challenging to crash it. In this case outsourcing a part of the activity , giving training to the new added resource may be time-consuming and would make crashing an expensive approach.


The reality of project management is not what we see in the day to management but what it is actually. Reality does not change ,only the view can change . For crashing and Fast Tracking the reality lies in the concept of Cost utilization , scope , dependency between activities and urgency of the work to be done, criticality of the work, skills required etc..

When we want to deliver faster then we need to compress the project schedule and deliver the project’s product, service, or result sooner as possible than estimated.

First Choice

Fast-tracking is always considered first choice , there are no increased costs but there is increased risk.

Second Choice

Crashing is the next option. Crashing analyzes the incremental crash costs of activities to determine and prioritize the candidates for crashing.

Both fast-tracking and crashing should be used on critical activities (those on the critical path) in order to have an effect on the actual project schedule.

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