Project Management For Idiots: Part 2 – The Project Management Triangle


Prior to my recent crash course introduction to project management at the University of Auckland, I had no idea what the project management triangle was.

It seems kinda basic now.  To be honest, I feel like an idiot for not knowing this despite having worked on a number of projects where this language is used all the time.

However, it’s also possible that my experience is typical for people like me who don’t have a background in project management but end up rising to the level of their incompetence eventually.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • The triangle models the constraints of the project.
  • Sometimes this is called the triple constraints of project management.
  • The constraints are time (or schedule), cost (or budget) and scope (or deliverables).
  • These constraints are areas where changes are introduced.
  • Together they determine the quality of a project.
  • The key is to balance these constraints throughout the project.
  • It’s an iterative process as changes are going to occur throughout the project.

This is part of a series I’m writing on the basics of project management. You can read the others here:

And it’s part of my self-imposed professional development for 2018 which I’m calling the NMBAMBA – The Non-MBA, MBA.

Any comments? Nope. That’s fine.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

2 thoughts

  1. And did they tell you about scope creep? And the expectation that a project will still come in on time and to budget? 😊

    1. Hi Anne…! Ah yes… big discussion on that in the workshop. One point was that if you move one point on the triangle then at least one other will have to move. In other words, scope creep means an increase in either time and or budget… Although I know what you’re driving at…! Also interesting was a discussion on red flags for a project that is going to fail: Failure to clearly define need, lack of upper management support and wrong PM approach. Those were the top three, but there were others too. I’ll blog about as soon as I get the chance to do some more writing. Thanks for commenting. Cheers, G

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