What is the Project Management Triangle

Let’s Have A Little History


The Project Management Triangle was developed in the 1970’s by Dr. Martin Barnes. Since developing the project management technique tool, he has served as President of the Association for Project Management.


It Involves Three Forces


The Project Management Triangle also goes by the terms Triple Constraint, Quality Triangle and/or Scope Triangle. The three primary forces, also known as constraints, making up the triangle all play a crucial role in optimizing project management while satisfying quality requirements.


Each side of the triangle cannot be changed without affecting the other sides. Usually, one constraint is fixed. The other two have an inverse relationship to each other. What affects one, directly affects the other, but in an opposite direction. All parts are interrelated.


The purpose of the triangle is to reflect the complexity that every project has. All constraints have infinite possibilities to achieve success.


It also help workers, including the project manager, organize their resources and time efficiently to achieve the desired end results. Constraints consist of time, scope and cost. Other terminology can be cheap, fast and good.


Another approach of the Project Management Triangle has the three constraints being time, finance and human resources. When a project needs to be completed within a short period of time, for instance, you put more manpower on the project. This increases labor costs.


Or, you can use a project management technique of quickening the processing speed and completing your project before the projected date. This can help save costs. See how the factors interplay?


Picture a Standard Triangle


Picture a triangle, with the center being quality. The three points of the triangle make up the constraints, with scope being the peak. At the bottom foundational points are cost and time, two important opposing attributes of any project. Project management teams are expected to complete the highest-quality projects while keeping time and cost constraints in check.


There may be occasions when the three constraints compete with each other to make your project successful. For instance, tight time constraints may result in decreased scope and higher costs.


Think of the cost


The cost attribute of the project management triangle involves the entire amount set aside in your budget for completing the task. Items such as salaries and wages, materials, labor and overhead are factored into the equation. Keeping your project within budget is crucial for its success.


Cost also includes resources. Resources are what you have available to satisfy your project needs. Items include cash, equipment, labor and disposable assets.


Consider the time


The time attribute, constraint, is the amount of time you believe your project will take to be completed and delivered. When your project goes over its time constraints, your costs may increase and/or your scope may decrease.


Consider the quality


A project can be completed within time and cost constraints, but if the quality is poor, it will not matter. Quality is subjective and must be determined by your project management team, and business, to insure your success.


Using a Project Management Triangle as your graphic tool will facilitate all aspects of your next project. It helps with decision making, workforce alignment and overall planning.







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