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The Variations of the Classic Project Management Triangle The Project Management Triangle is a widely used phenomenon throughout the world in the current world, which is continuously evolving as well. The project management triangle basically comprises of Time, Cost and Scope and sometimes Quality is also included. The reason these aspects are highlighted as constraints in Project Management, because every project faces problems in all these areas. The best Project Managers are those who are able to balance out these constraints, so they can successfully complete the project.
The basic idea followed by this Triangle is that, every project has a cost, a time in which it has to be completed and a set scope which is defined at the start of the project. If anyone of these aspects gets out of the control of the Project Manager, then the triangle will fall from one side. For Example, A project has reached its second milestone, and the Project Manager realizes he is behind the schedule, while the cost and scope are as planned.
This means the triangle has fallen on one side. The main question that lies here is how to overcome the challenges faced in managing the triangle, by promising the constraints.
These triple constraints and Quality are all very closely related to each other. The main problem for a Project Manager here is that if he concentrates on one aspect of the Triangle, it might negatively impact the other constraint as well. So, to strike a balance is not an easy task.
The question here to be answered is How to Strike a Balance? One main way of striking a balance is by promising the constraints. Setting priorities is not a hard and fast rule, and it completely depends on the basic objective and nature of the Project.
One Project might have more emphasizes on the Quality, while for the other project maintaining a low cost is the highest priority. To understand where your project’s priorities lie is a very important step for a Project Manager. A Priorities Matrix is widely used tool for understanding the project’s priorities, with the help of the triple constraints. The table shows the triple constraint horizontally on the left side of the table, while the columns show three aspects. The triple constraint can be any of the three: 1. Inflexible: Most critical part and has to be defiantly considered throughout. 2.
Adaptable: Should be optimized, but can be changed. 3. Accepting: This can be substituted to meet the constraints of the Inflexible or Adaptable dimensions. With the help of the matrix the priorities can be easily set in any project and should help to overcome the problem of striking a balance between the triple constraints. Evolution of Project Management is constantly occurring in modern times. In the early days of Project Management the only constraints considered were the triple constraints; namely Time, Cost, and Scope. There was a set triangle which illustrated the relationship between these constraints.
As discussed above the basic idea was always to maintain a balance between these constraints. Over the years, since the basic idea of the triple constraints was conceived, the Project Management Triangle changed. It mainly included the Time and Cost, while the Scope was changeable or substitutable with other aspects such as Quality, Goal, and Deliverable etc. Later, for clearing the uncertainties in which constraints to consider, the triangle was further changed into a Diamond shape. This diamond model included Time, Cost, Scope and Quality.
It considered the Scope and Quality as separate constraints, to try and simplify the job of the Project Management. The major flaw in this model is that it does not completely highlight the importance of a strong relationship or bond in all these constraints. Hence the basic concept of the project management triangle is not captured here. Recently, the Project Management Institute of America released a book named Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) 4th Edition. In this book the shape of the triangle was completely evolved into a six pointed star. This model illustrates two triangles overlapping each other.
The aspects of this model are Schedule, Resources, Budget, Quality, Scope and Risk. It not only signifies the strong relationship between all the six constraints mentioned above, but also defines the input and outputs on one triangle, while the other triangle signifies the factors which impact the entire process. The project management triangle although an old concept, is still widely used in today’s project with some tweaking instilled in it. The basic concept of the constraints in project management is still present. This signifies the importance of managing the constraints for any successful completion of a project.
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