The Triple Constraint in Project Management

Juggling in a show

When I personally have to face a new challenge, I usually tend to think about the way to solve it by visualizing the different approaches and finally choosing the one I consider is the best. This is something personal and other people may be facing the same challenge by taking a decision based in their feelings about it. This particular approach depends on the way our brain process the received info, but this is not the main topic of this post.

So, coming back to the Project Manager role, I like to think about it as a juggler acting in a show.

During the next lines, we'll review together this analogy.

The Triple Constraint

The three balls

One of the basics in Project Management is talking about the triple constraint. When you are managing a project, it's a key success factor managing to get the balance between Scope, Time and Cost. 

If we would like to do a brief summary, we could say that Scope is what we deliver, Time is by when we deliver it and Cost is how much we pay for it. Coming back to our analogy, these would be the three balls we need to keep launching until the end of the act. 

The Triple Constraint

I can assure that finding the balance between these three balls is not always as easy as we would like. It's our responsibility as Project Managers, to have the full picture of the project we are leading and try to find the way to keep the balls in the air. 

Some of the actions you may have to take are: 

  • Align with business and share the best approach you think should be followed.
  • Create a Project Change Request (PCR) to keep track of the new requests.
  • Request additional budget for covering the new scope.
  • Update the timeline accordingly.
  • Communicate with the project sponsor. He should be informed about the project changes.

Adding the fourth ball

A part from managing the triple constraint, we must keep also the project Quality right in the middle of our radar. We need to assure that thought it may be some changes in Scope, Time or Cost, project Quality won't be compromised. 

So, at the end of the act we will end up keeping four balls in the air (Scope, Time, Cost and Quality) and finding the perfect balance between all of them until the show will conclude. 

So, what about you? Did you have the same feeling while managing your projects? How are you managing the triple constraint?  Please, feel free to share with me your thoughts about this topic by adding a comment to this post.

Video explanation

Project Management
February 15, 2022


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