Managing Expectations and Change Using Triple Constraints (Part 1)

By Kevin Schick| August 25, 2017

Once a business implements a new technology, how is the success of that implementation defined? The developers and implementation team may think they developed and installed a great set of features. The project manager may be proud that the project finished on time and/or under budget. But the project sponsors will have their own idea of success, and in the end, it is their opinion that matters the most.

To help manage expectations and changes during a project, managers need to balance the constraints that define its success. These constraints are often represented as a triangle known as Triple Constraints (or The Project Management Triangle).

What Is Triple Constraint?

Triple Constraint is made up of the three most important and opposing constraints that all projects undergo. These elements are:

  • Scope – was all functionality properly delivered?
  • Schedule – was the project delivery on time?
  • Budget – was the project completed within the agreed upon budget?

These elements are dependent upon each other as you typically can’t change one without impacting at least one of the others. For instance:

  • If scope needs to increase, you can almost guarantee that either budget or schedule will also increase.
  • If the schedule is important and needs to decrease, you typically need to cut functionality from scope to meet the new deadline. Or, if you can’t cut scope, you need to add cost by adding resources.
  • To reduce cost, you either need to reduce scope or potentially extend the schedule to change the resource allocation.

Managing Project Expectations

No two technology implementations are the same. Likewise, the success criteria for all projects are different. Even in an environment where the same technology is being installed for two different organizations, one might be more concerned about the schedule; the other might be more concerned with budget. Therefore, at the start of every project, I confirm four things with the project sponsor (the person who ultimately defines and judges project success).

  • What is the Scope?
  • What is the Budget?
  • What is the Schedule?
  • Which of the above is the most critical to your success?

This understanding will be used to steer the remainder of the engagement, help facilitate when the inevitable changes or obstacles arise and will be reviewed upon project closure to weigh the success.

If you’re looking for a strategic partner who can guide you through the steps of a successful technology implementation, BDO Digital can help identify your constrains and ensure a smooth and balanced project that leads to success. Contact Us to discuss the goals of your next projects, and to learn more about our Managed Services offerings to ensure continued success after implementation is completed.


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