Project Management Triangle (Triple Constraint)

Project Management Triangle also known as triple constraint of Project Management is a constitution of the three most key and contrasting constraints that nearly all projects have to undertake.

Almost everyone familiar with project management, has perhaps heard of the famous term Triple Constraint. Usually, you cannot change one of the constraints without distressing other constraints.

The three constraints are: time, cost, and scope. Quality is the center of project management triangle that is because   change in anyone of the constraints may affect the quality, so quality is the central theme in triple constraint.

scope, time and cost
Scope, Time & Cost

The above diagram demonstrates the Project Management Triangle, the key attributes that must be controlled efficiently for successful completion and close out any project. Its responsibility of project managers to manage the triple constraint; and are required to live in this triangle of time, cost and scope with quality as origin.

Initially the triple constraint was a framework for project managers to evaluate and balance these competing demands and later on it became a way to monitor and track projects. With passage of time, it has also become design pattern define and gauge project success.

Project management triangle is very important but it’s not enough. Sometimes projects delivered on time, within the allocated budget and within the scope specified may not necessarily considered to be successful by key stakeholders.

Project can be better planned if project managers understand the Triple Constraint better and the effects connected with altering any one of its modules and this also allows you to plan the projects better, and have better analysis of project risks and this also protect your company from unrealistic client expectations.

In a nutshell, triple constraint of time, cost, and scope describe the project. Any modification in one impacts other one or both. Quality is the heart of triangle affected by all three constraints.

Quality can be the fourth or resulting dimension of the triple constraint. The quality of the project is the result of the project team’s ability to balance scope, schedule and budget.

There are many other challenges not limited to cost, quality, and schedule. Human resource effort can also be considered as major factor among the other constraints. Even if you have more money and time limit no project leader can successfully complete a project unless they have expertise or excellent domain knowledge.

This is the most important constraint contributing major part in the success of the project. If quality cannot be measured or operationally defined within the scope of the project, then it   seems to be appropriate to another dimension.

In my mind I see that dimension itself deserving its own set of constraints, that is, scope, cost/effort, and duration. Without such constraints I feel this quality dimension would only lead to scope creep and a failed project.