Is Fast Tracking the Way to Go? Find Out with the Fast Track Analysis

This second entry in our "fast tracking" article series explores the fast track analysis, the decision-making process used to determine whether strategic fast tracking is the appropriate management approach for a given project.

What is the Fast Track Analysis?

  • What? The "fast track analysis" is strategic "decision-making" technique used as part of the fast track management process.
  • Why? The analysis is performed to determine whether it is possible, practical and advisable to strategically "fast track" a given project (or even a group of projects).
  • How? It's performed through a series of standardized questions and variables designed to lead you through the process and make informed decisions.
  • When? It's an initiating step, performed before "fast tracking" work begins, but it can also be utilized as the project unfolds, whenever changing project conditions may require further analysis.

The Importance of "Fast-Track-Ability"

The fast track analysis is essential to successful project "fast tracking", used to determine the level of "fast-track-ability" for a given project.  To make this determination, the "analysis" process incorporates standardized techniques to evaluate current project demands and compare them against existing project capabilities.  If a problem situation exists, and it appears that strategic fast tracking can be used to resolve it, then the project has "fast-track-ability".

And once "fast-track-ability" is determined, the remainder of the fast tracking process can be applied to get the project defined, negotiate with stakeholders, create the "sized" management plans, oversee the project management work effort, and finally, review the results to ensure continuous improvement.

Successful fast tracking depends on situational awareness and the willingness to make "tradeoffs and adjustments" in order to make successful projects "possible".  Not every project is suited to this level of compromise.  That's why the fast track analysis is so valuable - used to determine whether a project can be "resized and optimized" and still remain a worthwhile endeavor (i.e. does it have fast-track-ability?). 

Analysis Steps and Determinations

Here's a summary of the key steps to follow and determinations to be made as part of the "analysis" process:

Note: These are the questions to be considered as the fast track analysis is executed.  To achieve the best results, these questions should be addressed as part of a "team effort", bringing diverse interests to the table for the broadest, most inclusive conclusions.

What are the current project demands?

  1. What are you being asked to do and deliver?
  2. What is the underlying business need (mandate to be filled, opportunity to be addressed and/or problem to be solved)?
  3. Why is the project necessary and why does the need matter?

What are your current "performing organization capabilities"?

  • Capabilities must be weighed from multiple perspectives including available time, money, staff resources, skills, expertise, commitment, equipment and related materials.

Can requested demands be filled with existing capabilities?

  • If the answer to the above question is "Yes", you may elect to use a different management approach (or you may still elect to use strategic fast tracking in order to take advantage of the many procedural benefits).
  • If the answer is "No", the analysis process continues to "step 3" below.

Ask the clarifying questions to determine fast tracking viability.

  • Are the demands associated with the current project suitable for tradeoffs and adjustments?
  • Will the invested and interested stakeholders be willing to compromise?
  • Will strategic fast tracking provide the means to successfully negotiate priorities, resize project demands and complete the project as needed (on time and budget)?
  • If the answer to these questions is "YES", it's time to initiate the next step - determination of project priorities (discussed in our next segment).  

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Learn more about the Fast Track Project Toolkit


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".