project management triangle

Project Management Triangle: Debugging Triple Project Constraints

Project Management Triangle, also known as the Triple Project Constraints is one of the very essential elements in today’s project management best practices. Every project managers within a company need the perfect balance of quality while managing resources. This is when the proper management of triple project constraints can help the team manager manage a project more proficiently than ever.

The triple constraints affect project managers nowadays in various ways. In order for project managers to have more adept management of their projects, they have to learn how to manage the three constraints. But before you know what are those three constraints of the Project Triangle and how they can be neutralized or applied to project management effectively, one must understand and have a clear concept of the Project Management Triangle.

So, if you are someone trying to comprehend the actual meaning of the Project Management Triangle or the Triple Constraints of Project and how it applies to modern-day business, then this is the post for you.

Understanding the Concept of the Project Management Triangle

project management triangle

The Project Management Triangle is a model that describes the three key elements of a project: scope, time, and cost. The triangle of a project is a useful approach for project managers because it helps to visualize the relationships between these three elements. For example, if the scope of a project increases, then the time and cost will also increase. This is because there is more work to be done and more resources required.

Similarly, if the time frame for a project decreases, then the scope and cost will also decrease. This is because there is less time to complete the work and fewer resources required.

Moreover, this method for project managers helps to understand the relationships between the three key elements of a project. By understanding these relationships, project managers can more effectively plan and execute projects.

Key Components of Project Management Triangle Constraints

Project Triangle Constraints

As mentioned above also, there are three key elements or components to the project management triangle:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Scope

Each element is equally important in the successful completion of a project. In this regard, all three elements refer to three different yet key aspects of successful management of a project such as:-

❖ Time refers to the amount of time allotted for the project. This includes the time needed for planning, execution, and completion.

❖ Cost refers to the budget allocated for the project. This includes the costs of materials, labor, and other resources.

❖ Scope refers to the objectives and goals of the project. This includes the deliverables, milestones, and other requirements.

Overall, with the combination of these three constraints, the project management triangle enables managers to manage projects more efficiently ensuring that a project is successful by all means. By understanding and managing the three key elements of time, cost, and scope, a project manager can increase the chances of a successful outcome.

How the Triple Constraints Blends With Business For Project Management Success

Triple project constraints

The triple constraint is often represented in the form of a triangle with time on one side, cost on another side, and scope on the third side. It is indeed a key process that project managers use to ensure successful project delivery. It is also known as the iron triangle. More essentially, it is important because it helps project managers balance the competing demands of the triple constraints, scope, time, and cost. It is also a valuable method of the channel for communicating project objectives and requirements to stakeholders.

Here are some specific ways the triple constraints can blend in with business for project success.

  • Any project management is about managing variables, and the triangle of managing a project is no exception. This triangle helps provide a mental model for understanding that there are both external factors and internal factors at play. The management of these variables requires identification, measurement, and critical analysis of external ones first to make adjustments within the business. 
  • The PM triangle is a simple way to establish and make sure all three aspects of a project are in perfect balance when that project is underway. By looking at their project from different sides without losing track of what depends on what and which affects what, project managers can rest assured knowing nothing slips through the cracks – meaning it’s easier to stay on schedule, on budget, and within scope!
  • The project management triangle allows for project managers to understand the reality of a situation and make adjustments so that work does not get compromised overall. Having this model allows for managers to be aware that when it comes to a budget, there are simply some things more important than others and if you need more money then that’s what you have to prioritize. Of course, making changes like these is never ideal but having this model at your disposal can help you determine where and when it is best to take action in order to achieve positive results!
  • It’s common for projects to fail because of miscommunication. The project management triangle helps you better understand all three parts of successful projects and give you the tools to make sure everything goes smoothly from start to finish.

Ways to Manage Your Project with Triangle’s Triple Constraints Effectively

Triple constraints of Project Triangle

The most successful project management includes managing the tradeoffs between:

  1. The importance of balancing the steering with the speed and cost,
  2. The number of constraints one adds to a project and how many ones removes from it,
  3. Who will be responsible for deciding when “good enough” means good enough.

As for managing it efficiently with the project triangle, here is what you need to do:

Pick Your Task Priorities and Approach Wisely

An essential point to remember about the project triangle is that at least one of its three points (time, budget, or scope) must be flexible in order for the ideal goal to be achieved. For example, an issue that arises when you’re on a tight timeline may be addressed by pushing back your deadline rather than hiring additional employees to crunch production at a faster rate.

How can we approach fixing this matter? Likewise, there might even be times when we are unable to get everything that was done that was planned within the budget we first set out with because unforeseen obstacles occur while you work toward accomplishing your project’s goals. When this happens and resources are low, it is often wise to attain extra funding pre-approved before it’s gone so that fixes don’t have to delay production from coming together as neatly as we would like them to.

Keep Everyone well-Informed

Mind the budget, follow your schedule, and keep your scope on track once you have agreed upon or set up a plan. With tasks, there’s always the potential for delays that fluctuate according to the course of business.

If you have a resource supplier tell you they don’t have any more of their resources left and your project hinges on having these resources, provide your customers or stakeholders with updates or an estimate for a potential delay in order to keep them informed whenever necessary.

Set Clear Goals & Expectations

Once you know the limits and priorities of a project, let your client or manager in on the information so that there is no miscommunication. There are always things that can be unexpected during a project and no one wants something to come as a shock after all of the work has been put into it. These unpredictable elements that could cause delay to include:

  1. Setting up contingency budgets way ahead of time without considering the possible mishaps
  2. Not considering the key delaying factors of projects like weather, natural disasters, local events, etc.
  3. Not taking into consideration contingency plans with estimated costs and timeframes for each delay.

If a client advises you on something, try to find out what their expectations might be if their plan clashes with yours. Certainly, this sort of thing isn’t perfect but you have to take it into consideration so that once the project has started rolling everything is moving together smoothly and you’re not hit by any major roadblocks further down the track.

In industries like construction, or anything that requires complex plans, contracts are even more important than usual because they keep everyone’s expectations at the forefront and help prevent any confusion about what can happen when something doesn’t go exactly according to plan.

Tweak the Triple Constraints Triangle As per Management Needs

In this modern age of project management, tweaking the current triple triangle constraints to its advantage is truly necessary. In the early days of project management, there were only two variables to consider when developing a project triangle: scope and time. However, as technology has advanced, new variables have emerged as more important such as quality and cost.

Today, there are four main approaches to managing projects which include the following: a) The Time-Scope Approach b) The Quality-Scope Approach c) The Cost-Scope Approach d) The Risk-Scope Approach. A time scope is typically an initial project timeline used in planning and conducting a specific course of work. A time scope can be fixed, flexible, or rolling. Fixed suggests that the project will not change once it starts (e.g., hiring a staffing agency for temporary workers),

Project Triangle With Agile: How These Two Model Compares to Each Other

agile project management

No doubt, the Project Triangle and Agile methodology are both popular ways to manage projects. However, they have some key differences. The Project Triangle is a more traditional approach that focuses on scope, time, and cost as the main factors to consider. Agile, on the other hand, puts people and collaboration first and is more flexible in its approach. It is iterative and incremental, meaning that projects are divided into small, manageable pieces and delivered in short cycles or sprints.

The cost and time are variable when working with a traditional project management approach but the scope is set in stone. This makes it difficult to adjust how much time & cost are available, which can lead to disagreements.

As a result of these three elements, the constraints are altered, and additional costs and delayed deliveries happen. Although the project is delivered, stakeholders feel unsatisfied because of higher costs & delayed deliveries. But one of the benefits of Agile methodology is that you can fix both cost and time.

The scope can be adjusted according to your preferences, which is why it was originally created as an inverted triangle. Moreover, it allows for continuous work, with the scope changing over time to meet deadlines and stay within budget. Not to mention that as projects progress it enables re-prioritization with ease.

Make the Best Use of Project Management Triangle for Project Success

Project triangle constraints

Surely, your project’s goals are likely to change over time. It’s important not to abandon your original goals in favor of the rapidly changing landscape, but rather adapt to it.

A successful project can only be achieved with a particular blend of the three sides of the project equation. The thing about this is that all three sides require balance and adjustments if you want to achieve each of them in equal measures.

It’s like baking a cake, or rather baking several cakes because it is thought that they’re going down well at the moment. In any case, you get the point. Along with the right balance of project constraints, it’s essential to plan, manage, execute and monitor a project’s cost, schedule and budget, so make sure none of the sides suffer or affect the project’s progress.

If the triple constraints aren’t considered carefully then you might end up neglecting one aspect – which could ultimately result in damage to your reputation as a product manager or even business in general!

To help or ensure your three project constraints stay on point and the progress of the project goes according to plan, most companies rely on a complete project management tool. In this regard, a tool like WP Project Manager can be the perfect companion to help you make sure your project is on track and nothing slips through the crack.

Let us know what methodology or tool you follow/use to ensure project success in the comments below. In case you enjoy reading interesting and insightful blogs, make sure to subscribe to our newsletters for exclusive content delivered right into your mailbox.

About Tarun Sikder

Tarun loves to write and play with words. He likes to write about anything that excites him. Apart from being a content marketing warhead, he is also a very tech-savvy person. Learning about new technology and keeping himself updated with the modern tech world is something he relishes the most.

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