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The phrase 'Aggressive schedule' is often used to express a desire to achieve high performance and speed on a project, however has the negative connotation related to the word 'aggressive'. If I'm expressing such a desire, I could say something like 'I want us to have a focus on achieving delivery in the fastest possible time', however that's wordy and formal. What's a succinct and relaxed way of expressing this desire, without sounding like you're trying too hard?

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    You might use "accelerated schedule".
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 4, 2019 at 0:53
  • Thanks @Hot Licks that's useful. "I'd like us to deliver the project as fast as possible" works, to avoid the need for further explanation, however I'm wondering if there's an even better, more succinct way. Sep 4, 2019 at 1:09
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    If you’re looking for an alternative to aggressive, you can’t get fewer words than 1, which @HotLicks’ suggestion provides. If it’s a phrase to replace “delivery in the fastest possible time”, you can use something along the lines of “quickest delivery”. But you’ll need to say what your desired textual context is.
    – Lawrence
    Sep 4, 2019 at 1:38
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    We will be Fast tracking this project.
    – Kris
    Sep 4, 2019 at 1:43
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    aggressive is not negative. It is the positive way of saying, “I’m not sure you can do it.”
    – Jim
    Sep 4, 2019 at 4:00

3 Answers 3

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Assuming your concern is the word aggressive, try

ambitious schedule

It can have a bit of a negative connotation, in the sense of ”That’s ambitious, we are not going to make it,” but ambitious gives a positive “can do” call to action.

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Here are some suggested alternatives to your phrase:

Efficient is an apt word for the situation you describe: achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. Possible examples: "I want us to work efficiently", "I need us to work as efficiently as possible", "This project demands/requires efficiency", "I need to see efficiency here".

"Concentrated Effort" is another option. From a purely intuitive experience of this phrase I would surmise that it carries a less formal tone than the word "efficient".

I'm personally partial to the phrase "Rigorous Schedule". However, although there is arguably less negative association with "rigorous" than "aggressive", it disregards your criterion of a less formal approach. Furthermore, it seems better suited to describing one's own schedule than communicating to a team the sort of work that is required from them.

Slam is a slang term which I have the impression of being fairly ubiquitous, and have personally encountered in culinary environments as well as amongst other menial/physically demanding jobs. I have heard it used most frequently to boast about how well someone handled a rush or a difficult task: "We slammed!" ("Killed it" is another slang phrase of the same meaning, though I do not think it is what you are looking for.) If you were to use "slam" it might sound like this: "I need you guys to slam", "I need you guys to slam for this one", or "Slam this out guys".

Ace and Nail are other options. Example: "I need you to ace/nail this one". These seem to emphasize quality of work over speed. But they certainly do not exclude the implication of speed, which would be conveyed (or not) depending on context.

Hustle: "I want to see you hustle/hustling". This certainly carries the connotation of working with speed.

Phrases that might do the trick (but strike me as very cliched) are: "We needed this yesterday", "We need this posthaste", "We need this on the double".

A phrase that strikes me as being well used, while remaining relatively free from status as a cliche, is: "I need you to give this one your all".

Or you could simply say: "I need you to work hard".

Ultimately, you will know better than anyone else which of these words or phrases (if any) would be positively received by the audience you are addressing.

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Challenging would be an alternative to aggressive:

adjective

testing one's abilities; demanding.

"challenging and rewarding employment"

synonyms: demanding, testing, taxing, exacting, exigent, searching; inviting competition; provocative.

"there was a challenging glint in his eyes"

synonyms: dare, summon, invite, bid, throw down the gauntlet to, defy someone to do something "he challenged one of my men to a duel"

From Oxford

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