Want a quick graphical way of illustrating the health of your project? Try project triangles.
On each point of the triangle is a critical and competing demand you must manage. Get one wrong, and your project suffers. But getting them all right is not very easy.
These are the points:
- Time - the amount of time you have spent on your project so far
- Cost - the money your have spent so far
- Scope - how much of your project deliverable is complete
Scroll down to watch the video.
Let's take each point by itself.
Time -- Usually, projects are time sensitive. There are market windows to consider. Lagging behind the competition is not a good place to be.
Cost -- This one is often tightly connected to time because employee salaries are usually connected to the time they work. Take a lot of time for your project, and you've paid a lot of salaries. But cost can also be connected to client receivables. Bill the client too much, and they find another supplier.
Scope -- This is the percentage of the project deliverable that is complete. How much have you gotten done compared to how much you want to complete.
Quality -- A fourth demand is sometimes quality, which is measured by the adherance to the published specifications. Does the deliverable do exactly what you said it would, or are there flaws that need fixing?
This time on Standard Time®; project management and project triangles. Mike with Standard Time back with Ray White of Scoutwest the developers of Standard Time. Ray, I have a boss, he wants his project, he wants it now, he wants it at the lowest cost and he wants it layered with gold! Obviously that’s not doable what can I do to show him that it's not?
Ray: That’s a common demand. You have three competing demands; time, cost and then scope. Which is what you want out of the deliverable. It turns out Standard Time can illustrate this. We’ve got this little thing called project triangles. Let’s take a look at the screen, I’m going to click on the view menu and choose project triangles.
When I do first of all you see one project here that illustrates the issue that we’re talking about. We’ve got scope of 25% you see in the tool tip. Our cost is about 33% but look at the time, we’re going to go over budget. If you get 100% of what you want your time is going to be like 400% because you can see the direction this is going right now. It’s a terrible looking triangle, look at the peak way up here, this is going to go way off the chart.
Let’s take a look at another example, same kind of situation the one over on the right hand side. Again we’ve got our time, cost and scope, the three competing demands. In this case we’ve got our scope around 30%, our time is about 13, but look at the cost, we’re way over here at 81%-it’s peeking out its way over. By the time this is project is done it’s going to be way over budget.
These triangles you can see are illustrating these three demands that can get out of wack if you don’t watch them.
Switch to another project in this case time and cost kinda looking good but look at the scope we’re only at 20%. When you hit 100% on this both time and cost will be out of control. You’ve got to watch those things.
Let’s take a look at the perfect, nirvana project. Down here we have the scope at 90, you’ve got 90% time, 95% cost everything is looking really nice. That’s hard to achieve but still this illustrates the health of your projects, how they can get out of control and things that you want to jump in and take a look at, figure out some resolutions and get your project back on track.
With the popup box I notice that quality was on there.
Oh, good point! You can actually click here and show a fourth demand which is quality. You’ve got time, cost, quality and scope. Quality would be the goodness and how well the product is proceeding. That’s going to change over time but you can look at that demand as well. Usually people are looking at the triangle only but still you have that fourth demand that you can look at.
That’s awesome. So the proof is in the triangle! No more explaining, you just show it and pick which you want.
Project managers can document and point out and illustrate where their projects are going. We’ve got these three demands all in check to make that perfect project for time, cost and scope.
Thanks Ray. We’re answering more of your questions next time on Standard Time so be sure to check back very, very often. We’ll see you soon.