This week, in episode 34, we welcome back author, trainer and consultant Fergus O'Connell to discuss his latest book "Fast Projects: Project Management when time is short".

Fergus was our guest back in Episode 1 which is still the most downloaded episode entitled “How to Manage the Impossible Project”. Fergus has written many books on Project Management and today we are going to talk about his latest masterpiece entitled Fast Projects. In our discussion, I ask Fergus to give us some insights from this book and the benefits that can be achieved from using this technique.

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Excerpts from Episode 34 – “Fast Projects” with Fergus O’Connell

What is a Fast Project?
The project is planned using conventional techniques, and then it’s reviewed to determine whether the project can be shortened without compromising the end results. Rather than focusing on planning the project, the main focus should be if the project could be shortened.

Unnecessary Aspects of Project Planning
There’s a massive amount of time wasted in companies. If we remove all of this waste, it would be a notable change in the way that companies perform. It’s about tightening up the projects and removing this excess. Most companies and their messages are inefficient. Technology is supposed to make us more connected, but in reality it’s done the opposite. For example, email is a good idea in theory, but it has become one of the causes in decreased activity. By removing these time wasters, there will be a increase in productivity and a decrease in wasted time.

Other Benefits
There are huge benefits to shortening projects such as reducing costs, waste, money saved, improved revenues, and an increased cash flow. Shortening a project reduces the risk that it’s going to run over. Teams that shorten projects have an improved morale and overall job satisfaction.

Where to Start
The “fuzzy front end” is when a project is getting off the ground. Typically it starts by someone having an idea, and then there are a series of meetings and document drafts. This process can take weeks or even years to start. Implementing scoping and planning a project in a day can avoid this delay. On this day, the project goal is determined and a plan is built to achieve this and get a project off the ground. Avoid multitasking. Multitasking in planning and in general is catastrophic for productivity.

How is the Fast Project Perceived?
There’s massive resistance to disruptions and going against the normal techniques. Managers and workers are emotionally invested in using the same methods. The people doing the project don’t think it’s possible to shorten the project. The stakeholders also don’t think that the project can be shortened or completed early. Nobody tries to figure out what bringing the project in early would mean financially, so part of the IP that we have now is financial models. These models show what the financial benefits to bringing a project in a week or even a month early would mean for a company. This could potentially save a substantial amount of money.

Show Notes

Connect with Fergus O’Connell on LinkedIn.