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The triple constraint

The starting point of projects is the statement of the client’s requirements/objectives. A key element of this statement is an identification of the measures of success. For a given scope of work (for example, build a new 1,000 sqft house), success is typically measured relative to three criteria:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality

This is known as the triple constraint.

The triangle above is a depiction of the relationship between the four elements of scope, time, cost and quality. Quality is depicted as the area of the triangle. Time refers to the timescale with which you wish to execute the project.

  • Quality refers to attributes such as functional requirements, performance targets, and user experience.
  • Costs refer to the financial boundaries with which the project should be completed.
  • Scope refers to the work to be done.

All of the measures are interrelated. For example, if you wish to shorten the time line but keep all other parameters equal, then the costs will rise. When applying constraints to your project, you need to take into account the impact it has on the other parameters.

Keep this in mind the next time you are looking to reduce the execution time of your project or the overall budget. What does it mean for the overall scope that you execute or the quality standards that you have set?

 

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