APRIL 2012
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TipTiffany's Tip of the Month

The "Triple Constraint"


There's a concept that I love because it applies to both professional and personal lives: the "Triple Constraint". 


When we measure project success, most people typically look at Time, Cost, and Scope. 

The "Triple Constraint" means that when (not if) one of those project constraints changes, it impacts at least one other constraint. 


For example, if my client suddenly needs a project done sooner than originally planned, then I may not be able to complete all of my scope and/or it'll cost more to get it done faster. 


If my manager slashes my project budget, then I may need more time to do the project, or I may not be able to meet all of the original requirements. When stakeholders add to my project scope, it usually takes longer to execute and/or costs more money. 


Good project managers know how to skillfully balance all three of these project constraints in relation to the stakeholders needs, but it is certainly not easy. 


Knowing what is important to the sponsor of the project is the key. Ask at the beginning of the project, "Which element of the Triple Constraint is the most critical to you for the project to be successful? 

As I manage the project, how I do prioritize Time, Cost, and Scope?" This is an important question to ask yourself as the sponsor of your own projects, especially at home. 


For example, when tackling the landscape project, do you want it done faster, cheaper, or better? Of course, we want all three! But people know that there are trade-offs in life and business. 


Choose the most important (perhaps cost), then the next (maybe time), and the last (scope), so you know which trade-offs are the most likely to be acceptable to your boss (or spouse). And keep asking the question throughout the project, especially when things change, so that you are both on the same page. 


I hope this Tip has been helpful. Refer to the very short Dilbert clip below to illustrate our point. 

couponBudget to Fail

budget to fail
budget to fail
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Tiffany Dahlberg - Ready2ACT