Every project puts pressure on the project manager’s ability to manage and balance the three most significant restrictions on any project: quality (scope), cost (resources), and schedule (time), which form the Triple Constraint Triangle. When one of these elements is extended or restricted, the other two must be adjusted to accommodate these changes. However, this is much easier said than done. Continue reading to learn more about these variables and how to effectively employ them for a successful campaign.

Understanding the Triple Constraint Triangle Factors

To begin with, it is vital to understand each of the three components that make up the Triple Constraint Triangle.


The time factor refers to the amount of time required to see the project through to completion. This factor is directly related to the number and intensity of requirements that make up the scope as well as the allocated resources or cost of the project.


Simply put, the cost represents any variation of the project that combines to create the overall cost structure, such as materials, labor rates, resources, risk estimates, etc.


Quality or scope factors represent the end deliverable of the project. In most instances, the scope is identified initially to give the project the best chance of success.

Using the Triple Constraint Triangle

You can have it good, fast, or cheap. Pick two.“ This notion that in any set of three qualities, only two can be delivered accurately sums up the Triple Constraint. As a result, the Triple Constraint Triangle asserts that project managers must have an understanding of the variables that can be changed as well as those that cannot. “Leveraging the triple constraints by determining a distinct priority of the components, and managing the project to that prioritization can enhance the chances for project success.“ Some of the common examples of how to manipulate the constraints are:

  • To speed up a project (time), you could reduce features (scope), or dedicate more resources (cost).

  • To increase the number of features on a project (scope), you can add people to work faster (cost), extend the deadline (time), or do both.

  • To complete a project under budget (cost), you can cut features (scope), or reduce the number of workers and extend the amount of time it takes to finish.

The understanding of a project manager in balancing the Triple Constraint Triangle is key. Simple as it may seem, the ability to intuitively grasp and manage the three sides often determines whether the project succeeds or fails.

What do you think? Do you have a Triple Constraint Triangle success story to share?

Author Biography SurgeFront

Surgefront is a management consulting and training firm that specializes in revenue growth and growth management strategies. As a certified Teamwork.com trainer in the United States, SurgeFront’s cross-industry best practices drive adoption, utilization, and customization of Teamwork.com. For a free consultation, please contact us.