Website development projects are typically complex. And, just as a carpenter must consider the alignment of joints, a website developer has to think about three different constraints when managing their project: scope, time, and cost. This is known as the Triple Constraint because one of these elements is always dependent on at least one of the others, and sometimes both. When you learn to manage these 3 things and you’ve got project success!
But what exactly IS project success?
Most experts agree that a successful project is one that is completed on time, within budget, with a quality end-product that meets the project’s (or client’s) business objectives. But it’s more than just meeting your deadline and staying on budget, although that’s a big part of it. When you’re able to manage all 3 parts of the triple constraint, you’ll also maximize the ROI for the project as a whole (make more moola).
As indicated in this graphic, each of the elements are different and equal parts of a triangle with quality at the center.
Successfully Managing Scope
First, let’s look at scope. Scope is your project description; in other words, it describes all the things that will be included in the project. And, just as important, it includes a description of what is NOT included.
The project scope needs to be well-defined via an exhaustive and thorough discovery process. Then, to manage scope and avoid the “scope creep monster,” you absolutely need a solid Change Control process that is invoked without exception. Period. Using a change budget within the Change Control process is the secret sauce that makes it actually work.
Successfully Managing Time
When it comes to time, the second point of the triple constraint, a detailed project plan is essential to providing a proper estimate – both on money and time. – as well as keeping you on track. Regular status reports that track back to the activities on the project plan go a long way to keeping your client engaged with the project and aware of their deadlines… and yours. This level of accountability will help you stay on top of things and keep the client’s activities top of their mind as well.
To manage the time on the project, we go back to the good old solid change control process. When the project timeline needs to change, for whatever reason, use your change control process to move the dates and milestones.
Successfully Managing Cost
And the final element of the triple constraint, and probably the most feared is cost. How do you control your costs on a project? It’s simple. Manage the other 2 constraints, namely the scope and the timeline. When you start with a well defined-scope and project plan and effectively manage it via your change control process, it will always keep YOUR costs down and ensure you get paid for extra work, thereby increasing your ROI.
And surprisingly, even though invoking the change control procedure often costs the client more, they typically appreciate that you are proactively managing these things to keep their costs and expended time to a minimum.
Of course, there are many, many sub-processes or procedures that also need to be in place to support your Change Control process, such as client management, setting proper expectations, acceptance management, and the like. But the crux of the matter is this – your solid Change Control process (with the change budget secret sauce) is the key to controlling the triple constraint and is the easiest path to project success.
Here’s to YOUR success!!
Want to learn how to consistently get your projects completed on time and within budget?
Join the WP Project Manager’s Academy – a FREE membership program where you can learn everything you need to know to consistently get your projects completed on time, within budget, with features that meet the client’s business requirements WITHOUT sacrificing profit.