The Fast Projects Course


The Fast Projects course teaches all of the project shortening techniques.  The course is a 6-week, distance learning course with a module delivered each week for 6 weeks.  Each module has an associated exercise or exercises.  You do the exercise(s), return them to Fast Projects and get feedback.

The exercises all use your current live projects.  There are no pre-packaged case studies. We don’t get you to play games with Lego blocks.  This is real world – in this case, your world – project management.

There is full documentation each week which, at the end of the 6 weeks, has become the book of the course.  This documentation is supplemented by material on our website www.fastprojects.org.


Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, you will

  • Know how to shorten any project to the maximum extent possible.
  • Have shortened at least one of your current live projects.
  • Know how to structure a project delivery organisation so it is capable of delivering multiple, simultaneous shortened projects.
  • Have learned a valuable and totally unique project management skill.


Skills and Behaviours Taught

  • How to run successful projects – recap
  • How to accurately estimate projects – even those phases of the project which lie very far into the future – recap
  • The Probability of Success Indicator (PSI) and its multiple uses
    • How to assess a plan
    • How to rescue a project
    • How to inherit and get on top of a project quickly
    • As a project dashboard
    • To set the agenda for project status meetings
  • How to achieve some quick wins by applying basic shortening techniques to a project that you’ve already planned
    • Eliminate multitasking
    • Parallelling
    • Finish before
  • How to scope and plan a project – even very large ones – in a day
  • How to plan at the day level of detail using a strip board and thereby achieve the ultimate shortening
  • How to do ‘Mission Briefings’ and their value in uncovering further opportunities to shorten projects
  • How to do effortless status reporting using a strip board
  • How to apply nine execution-specific shortening techniques to your project.
  • How to structure a project-delivery organisation for maximum productivity
    • Implement capacity planning
    • Eliminate multitasking.
  • How to sell your shortened plan to your stakeholders. Setting their expectations – under promise and over deliver.


Learning Approach

  • Tell – the course teaches participants a particular technique; explains why it is important; how the technique is carried out and any other issues they need to be aware of
  • Do The most important bit. Participants apply what they have learnt to their own projects
  • Assess – The participant’s work is assessed by the course instructor.


Course Content

Module 1 Getting Started

  • The innumerable benefits of shortening a project.
  • Why most people think it isn’t possible.
  • The principles underlying all of the shortening techniques.
  • If you can’t plan a project, you can’t shorten it – recap on how to plan (and accurately estimate) any project.
  • A map to the rest of course – depending on the situation you find yourself in, use this map to determine which of the shortening tools to use.
  • The Starter – the first of the project shortening tools showing how powerful they can be. This is the Probability of Success Indicator (PSI), a simple tool which can be used to do all of the following:
  • Very quickly get on top of a project if it’s part way through and you inherit it
  • Use it as a project dashboard on status reports
  • Use it to set the agenda for project status meetings
  • Assess a plan or a project in a few minutes
  • Rescue a project.

Exercise:  Send us a copy of one of your plans – ideally one that you would like to shorten.


Module 2 Basic Shortening Techniques

2.1 Planning

  • Eliminating multitasking
  • Paralleling activities
  • Finish before

2.2 Execution

  • Lite tracking
  • The only Project Dashboard you’ll ever need
  • Lite status reporting
  • Status meetings – and how to avoid them
  • Lite post-mortems

Exercise:  Apply these techniques to the project you sent in previously.


Module 3 Scoping & Planning a Project in a Day

  • How to carry out this hugely powerful technique
  • Practical advice for implementing it.

Exercise:  Do this on a project of your own and tell us how you got on.


Module 4 The Ultimate Shortening Tools

The movie-making industry and the military have developed techniques for shortening projects.  This module shows how these techniques can be applied to any kinds of projects.  The tools are:

  • Planning at the day level of detail by laying out the plan on a strip board.
  • Mission Briefing for the team
  • Mission Briefing for the stakeholders.

Exercises: (1) Plan a project of your own on a strip board.

(2) Carry out a Mission Briefing and tell us how you got on.


Module 5 Execution-Specific Shortening Techniques

Nine techniques that can be applied while a project is being executed to secure further shortenings:

  • Do it today
  • Avoid scope creep
  • Waiting? Raise an alert
  • Potential delay? Raise an alert
  • Calculate real availability
  • Start early
  • Finish early
  • Do it simpler / quicker
  • If a team gets ahead of schedule, it will strive to get further ahead of schedule.

Exercise:  Carry out some or all of these on a project of your own and tell us how you got on.


Module 6 Shortening Projects for Organisations

  • Most organisations are not run very efficiently. This is because of two things – the prevalence of multitasking and the lack of capacity planning.
  • How to stop multitasking and achieve major productivity gains as a result.
  • How to implement capacity planning. The module includes a full scale, industrial example.

Exercise:  Not so much an exercise but we support you while you implement capacity planning and reduce or eliminate multitasking.