Triple Constraints of Project Management

Triple Constraint is a model of constraints of a project. These are areas where changes are typically introduced into a project. Balancing of these constraints through the change control process is the key to a successful project. All three constraints should be treated at equal importance. These three are the most significant attributes of a project.

Project Manager is the one he should juggle all theses to keep balance.

Iron Triangle or Project Management Triangle

There are four components of Triple Constraints that is time, scope, Coat & “quality.” For ease to remember Time, Cost & Scope (TCS).

Time is talking about the schedule, cost about budget and scope about the quality of deliverables. Quality of scope is also a crucial part of the project.


As you know the sum of triangle angles is 180 degree. It means if you increase an angle the other two or at least one will decrease to keep the balance to make it 180 again. Same way if you increase the scope then the cost should be increased and so does the scope. Vice versa, if you cut the cost you will get less scope and it may also affect the time & quality – That sadly happens in most of the projects nowadays.

All the stakeholders must understand the application of Project Management rules to get optimal results.

Simple Example

Let say you are building a house and you want to decrease the cost then you need to cut the scope or increase the time to get it done in a longer run.

Same way if you want to complete it in a shorter time (Crashing) then you need to increase the cost that is called acceleration cost. In this way, you need to give overtime to get the labor in long shifts.

If you could fix the cost & time and keep scope (No Gold Plating or Creep) then you will get a good quality deliverable.

BUT, if you try to play with any of side of the triangle then you may get a deliverable that is not up to the requirement in & may face rejection from an end user.

A better understanding of quality is if you get labor on cheaper rates to reduce the cost then you ultimately will get a poor-quality deliverable.

As a Project manager, it is your duty to keep a balance of all the components of triple constraints to avoid any hiccup to the final completion of the project.

Wrap Up

The priority of any Constraints (Cost, time, Scope) is prioritized by the Client or its representative. One must not play with any of the sides until unless it’s from Client or higher authorities consent. This also helps to avoid Scope Creep or any Gold Plating as if you go for then you may lose focus on any significant attribute.

One Small Request:

Being a Project Management guy, I know how little time we have to play around on the internet. But if you have found this information useful then please share it to your colleague so that more people can get benefit from it. If you have any question then comment below and I am glad to take it.

Note: PMI has extended its approach and you just need to read them here The Value Triple Constraint (VTC)

Further Reads

If you think it a good read then share with your colleague & also visit here

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