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Topics: Pharmaceutical, Schedule Management
Critical Path

I have prepared a network Diagram to identify the critical path of a process for which the ambition is to reduce the lead time by 50% (from 24 to 12 weeks)
The problem is that all steps are performed in sequence, and they all are on the Critical Path..
I thought I could have improved some key steps on the CP, but, in reality all steps are on this CP.
I only see an opportunity: anticipate as much as possible what can be anticipated, instead of waiting for instance 100% of a step A is completed before starting step B
Do you think I am on the right way? What would you do?
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If you can overlap activities then you might be able to reduce the time but your cost might increase so you will have to evaluate this thouroughly.

Alexandra -

If there are no discretionary activities (i.e. all need to be completed), then your only choices are to either fast track the schedule as per Rami's recommendation or crash it by adding resources to effort-driven activities along the critical path.

However, both of those will create impacts - fast tracking usually increases risk and potentially impacts quality, while crashing will usually increase cost and is rarely scalable beyond a small reduction in duration.

Your best bet might be to look at reducing the scope of the project/process rather than trying to break the laws of physics!



From you description it seem impossible to have anything in parallel. You seem close to medical/pharmaceutical industry, I know there is strict rule that is possibly the source of your constrain.

Acceleration is associated with cost increase as Rami and Kiron stated. That might not be a real constrain.

With no other information it is difficult.

Like other industry some step can't be shortened.

Very good comments from the group.

I would like to add that you can accelerate your CP by looking for any possible prep work that can be done in advance on tasks so when you hit those tasks it should require less time to complete. The Agile approach in your Waterfall CP.

I have encountered similar situations and I worked on my WBS to break tasks down further catching tasks that can be done in advance.

Give it a try, you having nothing to lose, only gain time.

Fast tracking doesn't seem to be an option as per your statement. The only other thing is crashing or adding resources which will add to cost.
Drake has a good point that if some preparatory work can be done before the start of actual task than it would help.

What all you need to do, is to list all the work associated to any activity can be done in advance. So, that as minimum as possible time you would need to have to complete any activity.

You can consider increasing the no. of hours, if it reduces the timeline. Though the ETC will be more, as people in a group rightly said “crashing”. Keep some incentives for people to achieve your goal.
Check with client, keep minimum possible time for review and approvals.

Thanks for all your suggestions.
I was already working on the fact to in-stream / anticipate all that can be done, to be able to "sprint" when the last samples will arrive. And yes, it is in a pharmaceutical company :)

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