Good - Fast - Cheap
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
“You can have it good, fast, cheap. Pick two”
It’s a dilemma isn’t it? They say that every project can be balanced with the use of the project triangle, I understand the theory and am often pushed to put it into practice, but I’m not so sure that it always works. It tends to feel like a game, moving the pieces around until they fit somehow. Yes you can in effect shuffle time, money, and scope, but… doesn’t something always suffer?
Think about it… is it really possible to have something ‘good and cheap’? Surely the number of man days or materials required to make it good will be the same regardless of if we deliver it slowly or double up our resource and deliver it quickly, if we have retained ‘cheap’ then we must have sacrificed ‘quality’. Is it possible to have something ‘cheap and fast’? In sacrificing ‘good’ again we have undoubtedly sacrificed ‘quality’.
Lying at the heart of this triangle is ‘quality’ this is the sweet spot at the centre of everything. You can shuffle the sides of the triangle as much as you like, but if you impact ‘quality’ I would argue that there is little point proceeding.
Quality is the fourth element of the triangle, it’s talked about at least, but the problem is that there is no universal standard for quality. It will be defined within your organisation or project, and as such it becomes a movable feast when something doesn’t add up.
It’s been on my mind this week as I am doing this very thing right now, I am under pressure to deliver something ‘cheap and fast’. Naturally I have looked to limit scope and ultimately quality as my only other manoeuvrable option, but that left me balancing a fifth element… Benefits.
It blows the theory of the triangle out of the water, as it has for me many times before.
I will present my project proposal as it should be, because in this case, that is how it should be if we are to achieve our objectives. Anything less is probably not worth the effort.
Sometimes there is only one option to pick… “You can have it good”.