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Good, Fast, Cheap

“Good, fast or cheap. Pick two.” known as the Project Management Triangle, Triple Constraint, or Iron Triangle.
“Good, fast or cheap. Pick two.” known as the Project Management Triangle, Triple Constraint, or Iron Triangle.


Choose Two: Good, Fast, or Cheap - You Can’t Have All Three.

Triple Constraint

When it comes to creating or managing a project such as designing a logo, building a website, or even maintaining a website, you’ve probably heard of the concept of “Good, fast or cheap. Pick two.” This concept was said to be introduced in the early 1950s, but now is widely used and known universally by a few different names – it’s known as the Project Management Triangle, Triple Constraint, or Iron Triangle. Let’s take a deeper dive into how this applies to your task, business, or any activity for that matter?  For a simpler reading, we’ll refer to any activity as a project. Projects must be performed and completed under three constraints: scope, time, and cost. Let’s take a closer look at these constraints and how they relate to “good, fast, cheap” as it relates to our work:

Creating a Scope of Work

This part is very important, especially if you looking to get the best possible results of your product or service. Creating a Scope of Work (SOW) is the first and perhaps most important step in the budget estimation process. A detailed document explaining exactly what is expected. The Scope contains information that gives direction and purpose to every facet of a project—information project owners need to budget accurately. If the scope is clearly outlined and falls within a reasonable budget, then your project will be as “good” as it can be.

Time Management

This element enables the building of processes and schedules, and ensures time frames are realistic and achievable.  This allows us to meet your expectations of deadlines. If you want the project completed “fast,” then a clearly defined scope must be provided so there aren’t any delays in the project. Unrealistic timeframes are usually a result of a poorly written scope of work.

Cost Management

Performing this exercise allows you to plan a project’s overall budget, from estimating to financing to controlling costs. This part is probably the most deciding factor.  Unfortunately, a poorly written scope and unrealistic time frames tend to be a factor in many costly projects.  Clients tend to focus heavily on reducing cost by cutting corners in proving a clear scope of work while rushing the projects; thus increasing more time (due to more work) and increasing costs (due to more work). Everyone wants the best ROI, so asking for something to be “cheap” is understandable, however, expectations of quality and time is to be carefully considered. As you can see from above, each constraint represents a side of the Project Management Triangle, and one side of the triangle cannot be changed without affecting the others. We always work within this concept as it helps our clients and us in understanding reasonable expectations for any project.  Most of the time we’re a good fit for clients, other times we recommend other services that are more suitable for them. Here is how each option breaks down with a design project:

Good + Fast = Not Cheap

Want your project to be high quality and completed quickly? There will be a reasonable cost. We’ll put other projects on hold (and maybe even work on it over the weekend) to finish your project quickly while also delivering something that exceeds your goals for quality.

Good + Cheap = Not Fast

If you want your project to be good and cheap, then it will not be completed quickly. In this case, our team will have more time to think through the project before beginning and we’ll be able to work on the project at a more deliberate pace. In general, we use this option for non-urgent projects that have lower budgets.

Cheap + Fast = Not Good

Do you need something cheap, fast? We’re not a good fit. We focus heavily on quality work.  We also try to get things done fast, but if it disrupts quality, we simply don’t do it.  It’s not a good fit for our staff or clients in the long run. Part of what sets us apart from other creative agencies is that we’ve perfected Good + Fast through a variety of ways; from expert training, continuous education, high employee morale, and empowerment to name just a few principles — all of which help in keeping up with the latest trends and providing the best possible products and services. We have over 20 years of knowledge and expertise with highly qualified professionals working on your projects.  Can you find a cheaper alternative? Sure, you can find a high school student to volunteer on your project, but that tends to be a high risk to represent you and your company.

Project Management Triangle

The project management triangle is a model of the constraints of project management. While its origins are unclear, it has been used since at least the 1950s. It contends that: The quality of work is constrained by the project’s budget, deadlines and scope. The project manager can trade between constraints.

Triple Constraint

The triple constraint, also known as the project management triangle, refers to the boundaries of time, scope and cost that apply to every project. The project management processes responsible for controlling these constraints are schedule management, cost management and scope management.

Iron Triangle

The three constraints project managers work within are budget, scope and schedule. Schedule (or time) is at the top of the model (shaped like a triangle). The scope is on the left of the triangle and the budget (or cost) is on the right. Depending on the project or who is involved, each of these constraints could be the most important to the end-user. Quality is in the middle of the triangle and effective project managers must balance the ebb and flow of tradeoffs within these three elements in order to achieve success.
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INTELLIPLANS helps small businesses and nonprofits enhance their online presence and maximize their operational efficiency through comprehensive digital solutions.


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