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Detailed planning – Critical path - 4 - Reducing durations

Increasing efficiency

It may be that a task duration can be reduced by improving the efficiency of the operation.
This could happen by transferring a more skilled worker to the task.
A slightly different approach would be to add a more experienced worker who may be able to work slightly faster.
Two workers may have the same skill level but the extra experience of another may speed up the task.
This is just a subtle difference.

Hopefully, input from previous reviews on similar tasks would have highlighted any issues which should have been resolved.
Process improvements would also help here, see below.

Reducing the scope

Each task will produce an output or deliverable.
That is, something tangible, that shows the task has been completed.

The specification of this output or the scope of what you need to produce could be modified.
The customer gets something that is less than expected but it is produced faster.
Naturally, this strategy requires the consent of the customer and may need additional approval depending on the impact of the changes.

Applying extra effort

The most common first approach is to add additional resource to speed up the task.

This could be:

  • Extra personnel
  • The use of overtime
  • Additional equipment
  • Improved equipment

For example, filling containers by hand may well be a long operation, but automating this could speed it up considerably.

Extra effort could be attached to key parts of the task, for example, if parts need to be quality tested extra effort here may speed up the task.

Change the process

Alternatively, the task process could be examined to see if there was any way to improve the process operation and thus speed up the task.
When reducing any duration by speeding up a task be wary that mistakes may increase.
Also, the quality of the task output, the deliverable, should not drop.

The process change could include equipment modifications as well as procedure changes.