Introducing the Fast Track "Concept"... What is Fast Tracking?


Welcome to our (8) part article series exploring the uses and benefits of strategic project fast tracking (a.k.a. fast track project management).  Get started with Part (1) below, providing a quick introduction to the key principles of strategic fast tracking, and then continue on with the next segment to learn more.

Fast Tracking Provides a Management Standard

What is strategic project fast tracking?  The quick answer is this - it's a way to select, plan and manage projects.  The long answer - it's much more than that.  Every management methodology is a "way to manage projects".  So what makes strategic fast tracking different?

Strategic fast tracking is distinguished by its primary purpose as a "results-driven" management process, focusing heavily on the practical realities of getting projects done (and done properly) in the real world - where project "conditions" are so often complicated by a lack of time, resources, funding and unrealistic stakeholder expectations.


When you "fast track" strategically it means that you will be "streamlining" the project management work effort (in a standardized way) to compensate for "negative project conditions" and to deliver prioritized project results in less time, with the resources you have available.  And, it's all accomplished with full stakeholder input, collaboration and acceptance.

Fast Tracking is a Time Saver

The primary objective of strategic fast tracking is to streamline the project management work effort, to save time and allow the project team to focus on results over process. It accomplishes this goal in four (4) primary ways:

  1. It provides a planning, governance and decision making roadmap to guide the project team. This eliminates the need to “re-invent the wheel”, provides benchmarks for timely actions and decision making, and as fast tracking is consistently applied, these capabilities will improve, further increasing efficiency and productivity.
  2. It forces a focus on negotiated priorities to “re-size” the project work effort so that demands and capabilities are properly aligned.
  3. It minimizes project management “overhead” by consolidating key management obligations into high priority, multi-purpose deliverables.
  4. It promotes stakeholder engagement, cooperation and collaboration to ensure shared expectations and informed consent.

Fast Tracking Overcomes Obstacles and Avoids Pitfalls

Projects are a challenge by their very nature - even without all the obstacles and pitfalls that can get in the way of successful results.  In fact, obstacles and pitfalls are an inevitable part of the project management process. That's why strategic fast tracking takes a proactive approach, to overcome and avoid the kind of unwanted circumstances that can get in the way of productive work (limiting what your team is able to deliver).  Specifically, strategic fast tracking focuses on the following types of obstacle/pitfall conditions:

  1. Undefined vision, goals, scope and work effort.
  2. Unrealistic stakeholder expectations.
  3. Insufficient stakeholder buy-in and acceptance.
  4. Disengaged, disinterested stakeholders.
  5. Lack of tangible, measureable sponsor support and guidance.
  6. Constantly changing demands.
  7. Misaligned scope (inconsistent or not reflective of actual business needs).
  8. Weak and/or insufficiently visible sponsorship.
  9. Misplaced focus on project "process" over project "benefits".
  10. Misplaced and/or undefined project and customer priorities.
  11. Insufficient oversight to quickly identify potential problems and conflicts.
  12. Unneccessary management overhead (not tied to a need, benefit or result).
  13. Unexplored alternatives and consequences (if the project does not turn out as planned).
  14. Failure to anticipate and address stakeholder resistance and objections.
  15. Failure to properly balance project demands and performing organization capabilities.

See More:

Learn more about the Fast Track Project Toolkit

LEARN HOW TO FAST TRACK

The Fast Track Project Toolkit packs the entire strategic fast tracking methodology into 500+ pages filled with steps, guidelines, concepts, practices and ready-to-use templates. It's all here - ready for instant download. Learn More

Quick Facts: The Basics of Strategic Fast Tracking

Strategic fast tracking is a project management methodology.

It provides a modified lifecycle approach, which can be applied on its own or in conjuction with other management methodologies.

It uses a series of streamlined steps and techniques to minimize obstacles and optimize existing capabilities.

It's structured into (5) phases for project selection, definition, governance, oversight and review.

It relies on multiple, strategic tactics to deliver on time results, including scope alignment, stakeholder engagement, "sized" governance, and continuous improvement.

It takes a results-driven approach to "managing", focusing on the "priorities" to save time and minimize project overhead.

Get an illustrated view of the fast tracking process in our informative infographic "Step-by-Step to a Fast Tracked Project".