Tuesday, January 8, 2008

the triangle

Four points does not a triangle make. We often hear in PM classes about the triangle of doom...scope, cost and time and that a change to one impacts the other and they all impact quality....well, I often think about this triangle thingy and always see how wrong it is. A project is made up of scope (work to do), resources (people doing the work) and quality (how good the work turns out) - each of which impacts and is impacted by cost and time - AND - in addition to this theory layer there's also real world considerations such as skill sets, communication, external business forces, politics, etc. that often have as much impact on a project. So, what I think I'm getting to is that the triangle is inconsistent with even the base PM focus areas and does not take into consideration other factors. If a map does not correctly define the landscape then it becomes more of a cause for problems then a solver of one. I think it's time we think of a new metaphor for PM - the PM triangle needs to be put away and forgotten about.


  1. Great points Meade. I've noticed that recent project management courses have amended the old, outdated triangle to illustrate those other hard to articulate items you mentioned such as politics, culture, and so on. It still has three sides -- time, cost, and scope but the scope section has been expanded to equal quality and performance (scope = quality + performance). Nevertheless, you bring up a great thought-provoking point in that it's time to update the PM roadmap.

  2. These points are very important in project management. How you manage these three depends the success of the project.

    I have learned a lot from this post. Thanks a lot for posting!