More on the Triple Constraint

I’ve gotten a lot of good comments on my previous post on the Triple Constraint.  Just a couple of clarifications, at least from my perspective:

  • I don’t want to minimize how useful the Triple Constraint is in understanding the basic trade-offs that one must make among scope, time, and resources. 
  • That said, it is a basic heuristic and is most useful when initiating and planning a project.  In other words, project, program, and portfolio managers need to insist on these choices before the project is chartered.  That is when we have the most leverage to ensure an appropriate mix among the three.  Saying “scope, time, resources — pick two” when a project is in the midst of execution is too late. 
  • Project and program managers must focus harder on understanding scope, especially in relation to the business case that justified the project in the first case.  There is an implied baseline in that business case — it should inform our decisions about product scope and change control.

I’ve gone into the quality dimension earlier — especially w/r/t scope — so I won’t beat that over the head again. 


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