Three Cornerstones of Managing a Project
Have you ever heard about the Project Management Triangle formed by the budget (cost), working opportunities (scope), and deadlines (schedule)? Even if you have never heard about it, most likely, you’ve experienced a situation when you need an extra budget or are just behind schedule. What to do in this case? What to sacrifice? How to fit the deadline while producing a high-quality product that would include all necessary features? The answers to these questions are in the lines below.
What is the Iron Triangle
Let’s begin with the fact that in every Project Charter, there are objectives and requirements needed for its implementation. These requirements form the Iron Triangle limited by the opportunities of the company, its budget, and deadlines.
The Triangle is called Iron for the reason that the change of one of its elements leads to a change in the other two. Let’s take an example:
Suppose you are developing a new autonomous IT-system and see that one of the sides of the triangle is almost broken, which means you won’t be able to complete the project. What to do?
You can take the following actions:
- Extend the deadline, which will lead to additional labor costs (but supposing the quality is your main goal, additional costs don’t matter too much).
- Reduce the length of the individual stages, which will increase the risk of failure or reduce the quality of the product. However, if you think out of the box and approach the work creatively, most likely, you will be to combine or remove some operations without compromising the project.
- Change opportunities, which will save the budget and reduce the operating time. You can remove some functions, interface and other features that you treat less important.
Anyway, you’ll have to sacrifice something. That’s why you need to act decisively, thinking things through beforehand and trying to find a balance between the best possible and the ideal solution.
There’s a saying that, considering three factors – fast, cheap and good – you can select only two:
- If you create a cheap and fast product, you sacrifice its quality.
- If the product is cheap and quality, you will need much more time to create it.
- If the product is high-quality and quickly created, you’ll have to inflate the price.
The Structure of Decision-Making
Make your project flexible so that you can as soon as possible decide on a strategy change and use the structure below to make a decision.
#1 Pressure of a Deadline
- Are there jobs that you can refuse?
- Create a new plan and think whether it is possible to achieve intermediate goals with less effort and cost.
- Do you have a plan B?
- Is it possible to postpone some of your goals (for example, achieve them in the next project)?
- Are there steps you can combine?
#2 Pressure of the Opportunities
- How much critical are the business constraints for you?
- Is it possible to suspend the project review the business constraints?
- Is it possible to combine the two parallel projects and achieve the goals?
- Is it possible to move some of the objectives to the list of desires and achieve them later?
#3 Pressure of the Budget
- Is it possible to complete the project, spending less money?
- Is it possible to use cheaper components and resources? Will it affect the quality of the product, and whether it will be critical?
- Are all stages critical to complete the project? Is it possible to remove some of them?
- Is it possible to reduce costs for the team? (For example, by limiting spending on business travels).
- Do you have something out of unaccounted that you can use?
Ways keep in mind the goal you strive to achieve because hardworking and routine can make you forget why and what you’re doing.
Think of whether it is possible to find a sponsor for your project and how to make it interested? What benefit will it receive? Do not forget that sometimes small changes produce big results while big spending leads to minimal results. Explore the Pareto principle.
I wish you best of luck in your entrepreneurial endeavors!
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