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Pick Any Two: Quality, Time, Cost?

Have you heard of the Iron Triangle of Project Management? It is a topic, or should we say dilemma that is very common to project managers at any agency.

The Iron Triangle describes how all projects have certain constraints -- these are quality, time, and cost. You can pick any two you want but you can’t take three!

That’s why it is very important for your teams to consider these factors when determining the scope, timeline, and budget of the project plus the expectations of the client.

The deliverables can be fast and cheap but (most of the time) it won’t be of

high quality.

Situation: A restaurant owner is hosting an event for Valentines. He’s considering an augmented reality campaign to boost engagement and his social presence. There are only two weeks left and his budget is a bit tight. Conceptualising and executing effective and cost-efficient AR campaigns take time and resources.

What will happen: You (the agency) can still deliver the product but most likely, quality is compromised.

The project can be cheap and of high quality but it will take time to deliver.

Situation: A prospective client asks about your branding services. You’ve conducted an audit and advised him that he should consider a full rebrand. The scope of the project is vast but the budget is limited.

What will happen: Who says quality can’t be achieved with a low budget? You and the client just have to agree that the schedule or timeline will be pushed back so that cheaper resources can be found.

No, the project needs to be on time and of high quality. It’s pretty simple --

invest more.

Situation: Your client increases the scope during a website development project. It will be launched in three weeks time and certain features need to be added.

What will happen: Additional work plus a tight deadline means more talent and resources are needed. You will have to add more designers and developers to work on the project -- this means additional costs.

There is no right and wrong way to manage a project. An excellent agency will prioritise efficient planning and execution to achieve profitable results for the client. Setting realistic expectations based on cost, time, and scope will ensure the project runs smoothly for both parties. It’s a two-way thing! ( just like everything else)


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