How to Use the Project Triangle to Plan Your Next Project

You know that feeling when the lightbulb in your head first goes off and you are beaming with a new idea for a project? Whether it is an event, campaign, or new initiative the last thing you want to do is set yourself up to fail with poor project planning and management. Unless you are working with unlimited resources, then you project will be limited in three areas: quality, investment (both cost and people power), and speed. You do have the option to decide how far to push your limits within each of these three constraints. For example, if you are planning an event... Do you want to throw a super grandiose event? Or do you need to keep costs low? Do you have a short amount of time to plan and host your event? There is no right or wrong answer, it is after all,  your event and therefore you get to choose from the available options as long as you know that quality, investment and speed are all interrelated. So, you have 3 options from the combination of the properties time, cost, and quality; but one of those options is a poor final product. If you are spending time and money to get something done then why bother if you are going to produce something not up to par? What is the Project Triangle? Given the options of Quick, Great, and Low cost, you are allowed to choose only two out of the three options. Here Quick refers to the amount of time required (and usually desired) to finish the product, Great is the quality of the final product, and Low Cost  refers to the total cost and people-power of developing the product.  This project triangle reflects the interrelatedness of the three properties of a project, and optimizing all three is impossible –thus, one will always be sacrificed. In other words, you have three possible options: Great + Quick = Expensive Choose great and quick and everyone working on the project will treat it as their first (or very high) priority. This could mean all hands on deck, meaning your team is stepping away from other projects to get your job done in the least amount of time. Or perhaps you opt to pay a higher fee to get a vendor to rush your order. Be prepared to open reach into that wallet, because it will not be inexpensive as you have sacrificed your investment. Great + Low Cost = Slow Choose great and low cost and you will get a great finished product for a low price, but the project is going to take longer to complete. If you plan ahead and aren't working under fire you can enjoy the luxury of time and spend the money you saved elsewhere because you sacrificed time. Quick + Low Cost = Substandard Choose quick and low cost and you can expect a substandard outcome, but it will be delivered on time. You certainly get what you pay for! This is not even an option for Orange Moon Media because we do not believe in sacrificing quality. The Project Triangle is a useful tool for helping you, your team and your projects' stakeholders choose the best option for the outcome you desire. Also known as the Iron Triangle, The Project Triangle is a helpful tool to illustrate how each constraint effects the other.  Your team may need to understand how a change in any constraint can influence all the others and the entire project.  Try using the project triangle as you begin to plan your next project, it can help you identify what sacrifices you need to be prepared to make. View and download our version of The Project Triangle and our guide on how to use it to plan your next project. Choose wisely and good luck!