I'm working on a Microsoft Project assignment for a course. I've setup everything else correctly, however, my instructor didn't include clear instructions or how to setup one task of the assignment, the Crash time and Crash cost sections.

I have the information that needs to be input for that. And I'm supposed to figure out what the "total cost" would be to completely the project in less days than originally given.

Basically, what I'm asking is, would anyone be able to help me figure out how to input the information for Crash time and Crash cost to figure out what the total cost would be if I were to "complete the project in 50 days?"

Thank you!

  • If your instructor failed to provide clear instructions, the advice you get here is less likely to be useful than consultation with your instructor. In general, homework assignments are not real world assignments; success is entirely dependent on the instructor's interpretation. Crashing is reasonably well documented in PMBOK and internet resources
    – MCW
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 13:15

2 Answers 2


First of all let's start by defining what does it really mean to crash time or costs. This can be simply called schedule crashing and according to Project-Management.com

As defined by BusinessDictionary.com, schedule crashing is “Reducing the completion time of a project by sharply increasing manpower and/or other expenses,” while the Quality Council of Indiana‘s Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Primer defines it as “…to apply more resources to complete an activity in a shorter time.” (p.V-46). The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), fourth edition describes schedule crashing as a type of schedule compression, including overtime and paying for expedited delivery of goods or services as schedule crashing techniques (PMBOK, p. 156), though I generally think of overtime as another type of schedule compression – not crashing.

From a scheduling perspective, schedule crashing assumes that a straight mathematical formula exists between the number of laborers, the number of hours required to complete the task, and the calendar time required to complete the task. Said simply, if a 40-hour task takes one person five days to complete (40 hours/one person * 8 hours/day=5 days), then according to schedule crashing, assigning five resources would take one day (40 hours/5 people*8 hours/day=1day).

In that same article, they provide the answer to what you're looking for (how can a project manager decide if crashing will help?),

  1. Is the task (or group of tasks) in the critical path? Tasks in the critical path are affecting the overall duration and the delivery date of your project, while tasks outside of the critical path are not affecting your delivery date. Unless the task your considering crashing is in the critical path or will become a critical task activity if it substantially slips, crashing the activity is a waste of resources.

  2. Is the task (or group of tasks) long? If the task is short and does not repeat over the course of the project, then it’s unlikely you’ll gain any benefit from crashing the activity. A long task or task group, however, is far more likely to benefit from the addition of a new resource, as can tasks that require similar skills.

  3. Are appropriate resources available? Crashing is rarely useful when qualified resources are not available. Is there a qualified person on the bench who can be added to the project team to perform the work? If not, can someone be brought in quickly who has the needed skills? Recruiting skilled resources is a costly and time-consuming activity, so by the time the resource(s) are added to your team, the task may be complete and your recruiting efforts wasted.

  4. Is ramp-up time short? Some types of projects require a great deal of project-specific or industry-specific knowledge and it takes time to transfer that knowledge from the project team to the new team members. If the ramp-up time is too long, then it may not make sense to crash the schedule.

  5. Is the project far from completion? Often, people consider crashing when they’re near the end of a project and its become clear that the team will not meet it’s delivery date. Yet, this may be the worst time to crash the schedule. Frederick Brooks told the story about his schedule crashing attempt in “The Mythical Man-Month” where he added resources to one of his projects at the tail end, which further delayed delivery. In most cases, schedule crashing is only a viable option when a project is less than half complete.

  6. Is the work modular? On many projects, the work being delivered is modular in nature. For example, in automotive engineering, it’s possible for one part of the team to design the wiring for a new vehicle model while another part of the team designs the audio system that relies upon electricity, as long as points of integration and dependencies are defined early. Through fast-tracking, or completing these tasks in parallel, it becomes beneficial to also add resources, crashing the schedule.

  7. Will another pair of hands really help? All of us have heard that “too many cooks can spoil the broth,” but this also applies to engineering, software development and construction. Consider where the new resources would sit, how would they integrate with the current team, would their introduction cause an unnatural sharing of roles?

So ask yourself these questions while looking at your project and have fun making it happen.


I'm not a MS Project expert by any stretch of the imagination; however, if I were to approach this scenario in the tool, I would first filter the schedule to show only the critical path as MS Project calculates it. This assumes you constructed the schedule properly with the dates being identified using the network logic you created. Then, I would add the resources to those work packages I intend to crash and allow the schedule to recalculate its total duration based on the addition of those resources. As the schedule's duration changes, so too will the critical path so you need to be cognizant of those packages falling off and jumping on the critical path. I would continue this process until I arrive at the duration I want to achieve. The tool does not take into consideration issues @Tiago Martins Peres wrote about above; it just calculates assuming perfect resource elasticity.

Since the new resources added has hourly costs, you can then calculate the cost impact of adding them to your budget. The additional resources will unfavorably impact your EAC and then you can quickly calculate your VAC.

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