The Project Management Triangle
Cost. Quality. Time.
In an ideal world, projects would come in on budget and would be completed on time to a high standard. However, this ideal is often unrealistic, and from time to time, we are forced to compromise on one or more of these 3 elements depending on which are the project imperatives.
A great, simple tool that can help to prioritise key performance factors within a project and help support decision making is the ‘Triple Constraint’, also known as the ‘Project Management Triangle’. This is a tool commonly used in Project Management Training Courses
Time/schedule refers to the actual time required to deliver on the project. Naturally, the amount of time required will be directly related to what the project aims to achieve.
Cost/resource is the estimation of how much money and resources are required to complete the project.
Scope/quality are the functional elements that, when completed, make up the end deliverable for the project.
The key thing to remember about the Triple Constraint as a project management tool, is that being a triangle, one side cannot be altered or adjusted without altering the other sides. So for example, if there is a request for a scope change mid-way through the project implementation stage, the other two elements (cost and time) will be affected in some manner. Additionally, if the schedule appears to be tight and the project manager determines that the scoped requirements cannot be accomplished within the allotted time, both cost AND time are affected.
The Project Management Triangle is a great Project Management training tool that can help project managers:
- Stay on top of all 3 elements by being aware of the idea that changes in one area will impact the others.
- Identify the priority area for the project – e.g. what resources are available? How will this affect scope/quality, etc.?
- Help identify potential risks/constraints
- Convey information to stakeholders / manage expectations – often, the stakeholders are likely to be the main reasons for ‘scope creep’ or change requests in a project. Having them aware up front of what the ramifications might be will make dialog easier and will make them scrutinise change requests more thoroughly.
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- Conducting a management project
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