Triple Constraints – How to Have a Good Relationship with your Project Manager
The triple constraints is a fundamental project management theory that tells your project manager that they have real-world limitations of Cost, of schedule and of quality that they have to follow. So when the management of your company assigns a project to your project manager they will always tell your Project Manager;
- Here is the amount of money you’re allowed to spend to deliver this project.
- Here is the schedule that we’re expecting you to stick to.
- Here is the set of functionality the scope and the level of quality that we expect for the solution that needs to get delivered.
Those three things are always made very clear to a project manager. So all project managers understand the fact that there are tradeoffs between scope between schedule and between cost. That is what is referred to as the triple constraints.
There have to be TradeOffs
So the thing that project managers are always taught is that their clients can expect them to choose two out of the three of those elements. And a really easy way to understand this is if you think about the statement.
- You can have it good.
- You can have it fast.
- You can have it cheap.
So if your project manager says. I want a huge amount of analysis scope to be done. I want it in a very squeezed timeline and you don’t have any other analysts helping you with this.
What are they telling you?
They’re telling you I want you to deliver a lot of stuff. In a short period of time. And without any additional cost. They’re saying I want a good, fast and cheap. Once you understand the concept of triple constraints you can use that as a bit of a negotiation tool at two different points.
You cannot have all three. You can only have it good and fast but it’s not going to be cheap. If you choose to make it cheap and good. And it’s not going to be very fast. Good, fast, cheap means scope, schedule, cost.
In an earlier estimating video I talked to you about how you should give estimates. The concept of the triple constraints is a very useful and effective tool in justifying the estimates that you get because if you start to use the language of good, fast, and cheap or scope, schedule, and quality. Your estimates are going to be able to hold their weight a lot better than if you’re speaking in the language that your project manager might not really understand all that clear.
Once you understand that central concept and more importantly once you know that project managers fundamentally understand that concept you can start to use that concept in your own conversations with your project manager.
Why is it important to know about triple constraints?