Triple Constraints, Definition of Project Management

Importance of Project Management in entrepreneurship

Project management is an important discipline in almost all industries. Not only project management helps to deliver project on time but also helps in cost management, risk management and many other things. Though it is easy to get burdened by so big terms I mentioned before, project management is very simple and is about delivering within the planned parameters. As per Wikipedia here is the definition of project management
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives.
This is the most succinct definition of project management. Project management is the art and science of delivering on your predefined goals and plans. Many times I have seen entrepreneurs and their mentors focusing only on social media, advertising, networking while they fail to realize that biggest challenge to them is to deliver things as promised to customer. The moment you start thinking about an idea and about taking it off from the ground, the first thing that comes to mind is how do you execute your plan. There are so many areas that have to be addressed. The major factors are cost, time and scope. These are the constraints around which all new ventures and projects are built. Let us see how.

Triple Constraint No 1 -> Cost:

Cost is an important component in any venture. If you are starting on your own, probably it is one of the most important thing that you have to worry about. You are probably using your own money to fund your venture and it is important that you don't stretch more than what you have got. In my previous project ( which was an online store) , I was just bankrupted by hidden costs. I never thought that these hidden expenses would cause my plans and budgets to go haywire. Even though I planned well on the cost side, still I had tremendous difficulty managing costs . The bigger the project, the higher the cost. That means that if you have a world conquering idea, you "might" need world conquering money in most of the cases. Whatever be your business( even a home based business), there is a cost factor. A better cost management will help you to budget your venture properly.

Triple Constraint Number Two - Time:

There is a saying "Time is money". Time is a commodity that slips from our hand every moment. For a project , time is a parameter that we need to race against. Time is also called as deadline in project terminology. Timelines are often broken up into various milestones.

Triple Constraint Number Three -> Scope:

This is the parameter where most of the projects fail. We decide that we want to win over a locality with our product. As our project gets started and takes shape, we get more confident. Subsequently, we target more of the market and we add more features to our products. Hence, scope of the project ( features, services, product lines etc) keeps increasing. It is called as a "scope creep". Too much of scope creep is troublesome for the project. In a football game.there is a goal post through which you have to shoot the ball. You are fairly confident that you can make it. Then someone decides "Oh that is not the goal post we were looking for" and just changes the position in the nick of time. You have shot the ball correctly but it misses the post. Kind of frustrating isn't it. Ever changing demands and scope from various people involved in the project( you , your family, your customers, your partners )  means that you will find it difficult launch the product or that it is launched with many faults.

So I hope you know by now what are the triple constraints of a project

As many people "God is everywhere" . So are these three parameters. Your project may be size of a single NASA project or just a small online store project, these three factors if not handled well can drive it to the ground. [caption id="attachment_2189" align="alignleft" width="298"] Triple Constraint[/caption]

Relationship between three constraints

If you see, there is a relationship between these three parameters, like three sides of a triangle. If you increase one side, an other side needs to expand as well. That means if scope of a project is increased, either cost or time is increased (within the physical constraints) ( that you cannot work more than 24 hours in a day or that you do not have infinite money). If you want to decrease the cost, you need  to decrease the time on project or reduce the scope ( features or span ) and vice versa. Let me give you an example you are familiar with .

Case 1:

If you want to start an e-commerce store, the best way is to first know three things    
  1. Features of store
  2. Time to get up and  running
  3. Cost of developing the store
You might have a fair idea of the above three, however, during the implementation either you or your client decides to add a new feature.  Because of this addition we either hire a new developer ( more cost) or ask someone from team to work on it( more time). Here you either have to increase time or the cost to match up the project scope.

Case 2:

You realize that you should wait for Christmas to launch your product, which the deadline for delivery is extended. If you don't want to add the cost,  you can use your team to develop additional features( scope increase) for your product.. So scope and time are adjusted keeping the cost same.

Case 3:

You have received external funding for the project. You have more money to spend now. So you can either increase the scope ( by adding more features or delay the launch because you can keep your team longer with you. I hope these three cases have made it amply clear how triple constant work in relation to each other.  
If you want to really read a good book on project management PMBOK guide is excellent resource. Project Management Books) . Please note that this is an affiliate link ( that means I earn money when you buy using this link.