PMP Practice Questions #5
You presented the project schedule for baseline, but stakeholders suggest compressing the schedule. What should you do next?
A) Reduce the estimation of some of the critical path activities to reduce the duration.
B) Outsource part of the project to a vendor to speed up the process.
C) Look at various options to fast track and crash, and share with stakeholders.
D) Ask stakeholders to suggest how they recommend compressing the schedule.
Project scheduling plays a pivotal role in project management. Ensuring that a project finishes on time while meeting all the requirements is a primary responsibility of a project manager. Sometimes, however, stakeholders may ask for a tighter schedule. How should a project manager respond to such requests?
Let’s break down the provided options:
Option A: Reduce the estimation of some of the critical path activities to reduce the duration. At first glance, this might seem like an immediate solution. By cutting down estimates, the project end date will naturally come sooner. But this approach is fraught with dangers. Estimations, especially those on the critical path, should be the best judgment based on available information and historical data. Arbitrarily reducing them could lead to rushing tasks, compromising quality, or even failing to complete activities. It’s not a recommended approach, especially if the only reason to change is external pressure without any concrete basis for the change.
Option B: Outsource part of the project to a vendor to speed up the process. Outsourcing can indeed speed up processes, especially if the vendor has specialized resources or expertise that the project team lacks. However, outsourcing isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. It introduces new risks: miscommunication, quality control issues, and potential delays if the vendor fails to deliver. Moreover, this option doesn’t provide enough detail to assess if outsourcing is feasible, cost-effective, or even possible for this project.
Option C: Look at various options to fast track and crash, and share with stakeholders. This seems to be the most balanced and strategic option. Both fast tracking and crashing are well-known schedule compression techniques in project management. Fast tracking involves performing tasks in parallel that were initially planned in sequence, while crashing refers to adding additional resources to expedite task completion. By considering these techniques, the project manager demonstrates proactive problem-solving. Moreover, the option implies a collaborative approach by sharing these possibilities with stakeholders, ensuring transparency and collaboration.
Option D: Ask stakeholders to suggest how they recommend compressing the schedule. While it’s essential to maintain open communication with stakeholders, this option seems passive. It puts the onus of solution-finding entirely on the stakeholders. This approach could lead to suggestions that might not be feasible or could introduce new risks. Stakeholders might not have a deep understanding of project intricacies, dependencies, or constraints.
Final Thoughts: Considering the above analysis, Option C emerges as the most suitable choice. It integrates best practices in project management with a collaborative approach. Rather than making ad-hoc changes or passing the responsibility entirely to stakeholders, it involves doing due diligence, assessing viable options, and then discussing with stakeholders to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. It’s the essence of proactive and collaborative project management.
PMP Exam Content Outline Mapping
|People||Task 9 : Collaborate with Stakeholders|
|Process||Task 6: Plan and Manage Schedule|
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Project Schedule
- Project Estimation
- Schedule Compression, Fast Tracking and Crashing
- Critical Path Analysis
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