What is Crashing in Project Management? - Definition & Example

Instructor: Audrey Brown

Dr. Audrey E Brown’s Mastery in Program/Project Management consists of five certifications, along with 15+ years of experience in the field.

The objective of crashing a project is to shorten the project's implementation date by adding resources to critical path tasks. This lesson will define and provide an example of crashing a project.

What Do You Mean by Crashing a Project?

The initial project plan you construct seldom will be delivered without making modifications to the project's triple constraint, which are schedule, cost, and scope. Crashing a project is an advanced project management technique which means to add the appropriate amount of skilled project resources to critical path task(s), which is commonly used to compress the project schedule. The project schedule compression technique consists of:

  1. Fast tracking
  2. Crashing a project

In this lesson we will focus on crashing a project.

Crashing your project will directly impact two out of three of your project triple constraints, which are schedule and cost. Crashing your project will accelerate your project delivery schedule and increase your project budget; however, it will have no effect to your project scope. Typically, when project sponsors want you to crash your project, it means they are not concerned about the project costs. Either they have unrestricted budgets or they just want you to get the project done as fast as possible.

Consequently, since crashing your project will increase your project cost, you must identify all critical path tasks that have the potential to compress your project schedule. If you are unable to add resources to critical path tasks resulting in shortening your project schedule, do not attempt to implement project crashing. Do not select non-critical path tasks to crash because adding additional resources to non-critical path tasks will have no effect to your project schedule.

Skilled Project Resource Selection

When crashing your project, your additional resources could be obtained from multiple sources such as full-time employees who are available within your project management office (PMO) pool, full-time employees outside of your PMO, software vendor resources, and hiring contractors.

Most importantly, it is crucial to mention that when you add resources to accelerate your project, you are not just adding bodies. You must crash your project with skilled project resources, which are subject-matter experts who could add immediate value to your project. On-the-job training is unacceptable and not viable when crashing your project. Additionally, you need to consider the type of tasks you are crashing during your resource selection process. Therefore, you need to pose some of the following questions:

  • Does this task require a senior-level resource to complete?
  • Does this task require the project resource to have extensive product knowledge?
  • Which critical path tasks should I add resources to that would accelerate the project?

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