Business and StartUp Need to Know - Project Management Triangle
Projects have constraints and elements that affect each other, these different Constraints can be found in the Project Management Triangle. Each side/angle represents one of these constraints, they are; ‘Scope’, ‘Time’ and ‘Cost’. These factors cannot individually be affected without changing the others, if one is increased or decreased the affect will ripple into the other elements changing them as well.
- - Time is a crucial factor which is uncontrollable. The Time constraint refers to the amount of time available to complete a project.
- - The Cost constraint refers to the budgeted amount available for the project.
- - The Scope constraint refers to what must be done to produce the project's end result.
This can be implemented in relation to starting a Product based business. You have an Idea, a Product in which would be manufactured to be sold to the public. Looking at manufacturing process using this Triangle will help define the angle of the product.
These three constraints are also often competing constraints: increased Scope typically means increased Time and increased Cost, a tight Time constraint could mean increased Costs and reduced Scope, and a tight budget could mean increased time and reduced scope.
Overall there are three options-
- Design something Quickly (time) to a high Standard (scope) will cause it not be Cheap (cost)
- Design something Quickly (time) and Cheaply (cost) will cause it to not be of high Standard (Scope)
- If the end product is of a High Standard (scope) but is Cheap (cost) then it will not be produced Quickly (time).
For analytical purposes, the Time required to produce a deliverable is estimated using several techniques. One method is to identify tasks needed to produce the deliverables documented in a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The work effort for each task is estimated and those estimates are rolled up into the final deliverable estimate.
The tasks are also prioritized, dependencies between tasks are identified, and this information is documented in a Project Schedule. The dependencies between the tasks can affect the length of the overall project, as can the availability of resources (resource constrained). Time is different from all other resources and cost categories.
It's imperative for both the Project Manager and the Organization to have an estimated Cost when undertaking a project. Budgets will ensure that the project/ product is developed or implemented below a certain cost. To develop an approximation of a project cost depends on several variables including: resources, work packages such as labour rates and mitigating or controlling influencing factors that create cost variances. But beyond this basic Accounting approach to fixed and variable costs, the economic cost that must be considered includes worker skill and productivity which is calculated using various project cost estimate tools. This is important when companies hire temporary or contract employees or outsource work.
Scope is over all the requirements needed to achieve the end result, it is the overall definition of what the product/project is supposed to accomplish, and it is a description of what the end result should be. Quality is a very major factor in Scope. The amount of time put into individual tasks determines the overall quality of the project. Some tasks may require a given amount of time to complete adequately, but given more time could be completed exceptionally. Over the course of a large project, quality can have a significant impact on time and cost (or vice versa).
Sometimes the project management triangle is described with the three constraints time, cost and quality rather than scope, as higher quality in a project can easily lead to higher cost and sometimes more time. However, quality can also be seen as part of the scope of a project, as well defined deliverables will include a statement of the desired quality.
An understanding of the constraints in the project management triangle (cost, time and scope) can help all managers to implement change in business. This can also be implemented within a start-up business, using this triangle will help provide an understanding of the direction that the product or project will head in. Will it be cheaply produced but have a low Scope (quality standard), will Quality and Time be the priority and therefore the Cost is high. All need to be considered when starting a business.