The Triple Constraint


Draw an equilateral triangle, the kind where all three sides are the same length.

On one side, write “Scope”
On the next, write “Cost”
On the last side, write “Time”
In the middle, write “Quality”

The three sides illustrate your project scope, budget and timelines. The area inside the triangle represents the degree of quality you will be able to deliver within the Triple Constraint of Scope, Time and Cost.

We cannot change the length of any one side of the triangle without changing the length of at least one other side, or altering the size of the interior space (our Quality) – it is that simple. At least one other element will have to give.

This little drawing will help you explain to team members and sponsors, stakeholders of all kinds, that you cannot arbitrarily change elements of a project without having some kind of consequence.


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