The Triple Constraint
The challenge of every project is to make it work and be successful within the Triple Constraint; theTriple Constraint being quality (scope), cost (resources) and schedule (time). These three elements of a project are known to work in tandem with one another. Where one of these elements is restricted or extended, the other two elements will then also need to be either extended/increased in some way or restricted/reduced in some way. There is a balancing of the three elements that only when fully understood by the Project Manager, allows for the successful planning, resourcing and execution of a project. At the end of the day, these are the key elements of a successful project and these are the things that will determine whether or not you have successfully managed a project.
If you need to finish a job in a shorter time, you can throw more people at the problem, which in turn will raise the cost of the project, unless by doing this task quicker we will reduce costs elsewhere in the project by an equal amount.
The scope of a project (often called the Scope of Work) is a clear, specific statement as to what has been agreed to be preformed/achieved in a particular project. In other words, the scope expressly lays out the functions, features, data, content, etc. that will be included in the project at hand. You could also say that the scope clearly expresses the desired final result of a project.
This second element of the Triple Constraint is known as either Resources or Cost. Resources always cost money so the two are interchangeable in many ways. When we talk about the cost of a project, we are talking about what needs to be applied or assigned to the project in terms of money and effort in order to make things happen. This can be resources like manpower/labor, it can be materials needed for the job, resources for risk management and assessment or any third party resources that might need to be secured.
Time, in project management, is analyzed down to its smallest detail. The amount of time required to complete each and every component of a project is analyzed. Once analysis has taken place, those components are broken down even further into the time required to do each task. Obviously from all of this we are able to estimate the duration of the project as well as what and how many/much resources need to be dedicated to that particular project.
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