It seems many novice project managers think they can have it all, but of course it isn’t so. You do need to mange and care for your project for it to become a success. A basic and easy tool every project manager should know is the project manager’s triangle.
The triangle looks linke this:
It’s a navigation tool.
It tells you, that when managing your project, there are the areas you can use to change course – time, resources and contents.
In the Time-area is the project plan mapped into a calendar – the project milestones and eventually the deadline. When using this area to mange your project, you change the time to reach the goals. Usually you’ve promised to deliver a project to a certain deadline, but remember, that if you aren’t willing to change that, you must either find resources or change the contents of the project – keeping a deadline has a consequence.
In the Resource-area is the people, tools and other resources available to your project. If you need to go faster and use this tool, you look for more people to work on your project, look for more efficient ways of proceeding or into other ways of adding resources to your project. Do remember, that people do have skills, and are often not just a resource in your project – to make it a valuable resource, he or she must play well with the team and actually be able to contribute to the project.
In the Contents-area is the entire solution the project is supposed to deliver. Changes in this area may be removing functionality, cutting away unneeded feature – or cutting quality.
One or two of the areas may be locked, so if your behind schedule, the tools to correct the course should be found in those areas, which can be changed.
If your project needs corrections – be aware of which areas you make the changes.
Often project managers cant or wont change a deadline, can’t add resources and can’t live without the full deliverance. If this is the case do remember that it’s the quality of the product your toying with – and is that really what you want?