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Projectmanagementtriangle
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TheProjectManagementTriangle(calledalsoTripleConstraintor
theIronTriangle)isamodeloftheconstraintsofprojectmanagement.
Itisagraphicaidwherethethreeattributesshowonthecornersofthe
triangletoshowopposition.Itisusefultohelpwithintentionally
choosingprojectbiases,oranalyzingthegoalsofaproject.[1]Itisused
toillustratethatprojectmanagementsuccessismeasuredbythe
projectteam'sabilitytomanagetheproject,sothattheexpectedresults
areproducedwhilemanagingtimeandcost.[2][3][4]

Likeanyhumanundertaking,projectsneedtobeperformedand
deliveredundercertainconstraints.Traditionally,theseconstraints TheProjectManagementTriangle
havebeenlistedas"scope"(featuresandquality),"time",and"cost". [5]
Thesearealsoreferredtoasthe"ProjectManagementTriangle,"
whereeachsiderepresentsaconstraint.Onesideofthetrianglecannotbechangedwithoutaffectingtheothers.A
furtherrefinementoftheconstraintsseparatesproduct"quality"or"performance"fromscope,andturnsquality
intoafourthconstraint.

Contents
1 Overview
2 "Pickanytwo"
3 STRModel
4 Projectmanagementtriangletopics
4.1 Time
4.1.1 DefineActivities
4.1.2 Activitysequencing
4.1.3 Activityresourceestimating
4.1.4 Activitydurationestimating
4.1.5 Scheduledevelopment
4.1.6 Schedulecontrol
4.2 Cost
4.2.1 CostProcessAreas
4.2.1.1 ProjectManagementCostEstimatingTools[8]
4.3 Scope
5 EvolutionoftheProjectConstraintModel
6 Seealso
7 References
8 Externallinks

Overview
Thetimeconstraintreferstotheamountoftimeavailabletocompleteaproject.Thecostconstraintreferstothe
budgetedamountavailablefortheproject.Thescopeconstraintreferstowhatmustbedonetoproducethe
project'sendresult.Thesethreeconstraintsareoftencompetingconstraints:increasedscopetypicallymeans
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increasedtimeandincreasedcost,atighttimeconstraintcouldmeanincreasedcostsandreducedscope,andatight
budgetcouldmeanincreasedtimeandreducedscope.

Thedisciplineofprojectmanagementisaboutprovidingthetoolsandtechniquesthatenabletheprojectteam(not
justtheprojectmanager)toorganizetheirworktomeettheseconstraints.

Anotherapproachtoprojectmanagementistoconsiderthethreeconstraintsasfinance,timeandhumanresources.
Ifyouneedtofinishajobinashortertime,youcanthrowmorepeopleattheproblem,whichinturnwillraisethe
costoftheproject,unlessbydoingthistaskquickerwewillreducecostselsewhereintheprojectbyanequal
amount.

Asaprojectmanagementgraphicaid,atrianglecanshowtime,resources,andtechnicalobjectiveasthesidesofa
triangle,insteadofthecorners.[6]JohnStorck,aformerinstructoroftheAmericanManagementAssociation's
"BasicProjectManagement"course,usedapairoftrianglescalledtriangleouterandtriangleinnertorepresentthe
conceptthattheintentofaprojectistocompleteonorbeforetheallowedtime,onorunderbudget,andtomeetor
exceedtherequiredscope.Thedistancebetweentheinnerandoutertrianglesillustratedthehedgeorcontingency
foreachofthethreeelements.Biascouldbeshownbythedistance.Hisexampleofaprojectwithastrongtime
biaswastheAlaskapipelinewhichessentiallyhadtobedoneontimenomatterthecost.Afteryearsof
development,oilflowedouttheendofthepipewithinfourminutesofschedule.Inthisillustration,thetimeside
oftriangleinnerwaseffectivelyontopofthetriangleouterline.Thiswastrueofthetechnicalobjectivelinealso.
Thecostlineoftriangleinner,however,wasoutsidesincetheprojectransignificantlyoverbudget.

JamesP.Lewis[7]suggeststhatprojectscoperepresentstheareaofthetriangle,andcanbechosenasavariableto
achieveprojectsuccess.HecallsthisrelationshipPCTS(Performance,Cost,Time,Scope),andsuggeststhata
projectcanpickanythree.

Therealvalueoftheprojecttriangleistoshowthecomplexitythatispresentinanyproject.Theplaneareaofthe
trianglerepresentsthenearinfinitevariationsofprioritiesthatcouldexistbetweenthethreecompetingvalues.By
acknowledgingthelimitlessvariety,possiblewithinthetriangle,usingthisgraphicaidcanfacilitatebetterproject
decisionsandplanningandensurealignmentamongteammembersandtheprojectowners.

"Pickanytwo"
YouaregiventheoptionsofFast,Good,andCheap,andtoldtopickanytwo.HereFastreferstothetimerequired
todelivertheproduct,Goodisthequalityofthefinalproduct,andCheapreferstothetotalcostofdesigningand
buildingtheproduct.Thistrianglereflectsthefactthatthethreepropertiesofaprojectareinterrelated,anditisnot
possibletooptimizeallthreeonewillalwayssuffer.Inotherwords,youhavethreeoptions:

Designsomethingquicklyandtoahighstandard,butthenitwillnotbecheap.
Designsomethingquicklyandcheaply,butitwillnotbeofhighquality.
Designsomethingwithhighqualityandcheaply,butitwilltakearelativelylongertime.

STRModel
TheSTRmodelisamathematicalmodelwhichviewsthe"trianglemodel"asagraphicabstractionofthe
relationship:

Scope=TimeResources

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Scopereferstocomplexity(whichcanalsomeanquality).
Resourcesincludeshumans(workers),financial,and
physical.Notethatthesevaluesarenotconsidered
unbounded.Forinstance,ifonebakercanmakealoafof
breadinanhour,thatdoesn'tmeantenbakerscouldmakea
loafinsixminutes.

Projectmanagementtriangletopics
Time

Foranalyticalpurposes,thetimerequiredtoproducea
deliverableisestimatedusingseveraltechniques.One
methodistoidentifytasksneededtoproducethe
deliverablesdocumentedinaworkbreakdownstructureor
WBS.Theworkeffortforeachtaskisestimatedandthose
estimatesarerolledupintothefinaldeliverableestimate.
Theprojecttriangleasa"pickanytwo"Eulerdiagram
Thetasksarealsoprioritized,dependenciesbetweentasks
areidentified,andthisinformationisdocumentedinaprojectschedule.Thedependenciesbetweenthetaskscan
affectthelengthoftheoverallproject(dependencyconstrained),ascantheavailabilityofresources(resource
constrained).Timeisdifferentfromallotherresourcesandcostcategories.

Usingactualcostofprevious,similarprojectsasthebasisforestimatingthecostofcurrentproject.

AccordingtotheProjectManagementBodyofKnowledge(PMBOK)theProjectTimeManagementprocesses
include:

1.PlanScheduleManagement
2.DefineActivities
3.SequenceActivities
4.EstimateActivityResources
5.EstimateActivityDurations
6.DevelopSchedule
7.ControlSchedule

DefineActivities

1.Inputs:ManagementPlan,ScopeBaseline,Enterpriseenvironmentalfactors,Organizationalprocessassets
2.Tools:Decomposition,RollingWavePlanning,ExpertJudgment
3.Outputs:Activitylist,Activityattributes,Milestonelist

Activitysequencing

1.Inputs:ProjectScopeStatement,ActivityList,ActivityAttributes,MilestonesList,Approvedchange
requests
2.Tools:PrecedenceDiagrammingMethod(PDM),ArrowDiagrammingMethod(ADM),ScheduleNetwork
templates,dependencydegeneration,applyingleadsandlags
3.Outputs:ProjectScheduleNetworkdiagrams,ActivityListUpdates,ActivityAttributesupdates,Request
Changes

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Activityresourceestimating

1.Inputs:EnterpriseEnvironmentalfactoring,Organizationalprocessassets,Activitylist,Activityattributes,
ResourcesAvailability,ProjectManagementPlan
2.Tools:ExpertJudgmentCollections,AlternativeAnalysis,Publishingestimatingdata,Projectmanagement
softwareimplementation,Bottomupestimating
3.Outputs:Activityresourcerequirements,Activityattributes,Resourcebreakdownstructure,resource
calendars,requestchangeupdates.

Activitydurationestimating

1.Inputs:Enterpriseenvironmentalfactors,organizationprocessassets,Projectscopestatement,activitylist,
activityattributes,activityresourcerequirements,resourcecalendars,projectmanagementplan,riskregister,
activitycostestimates
2.Tools:Expertjudgmentcollection,analogousestimating,parametricestimating,BottomupEstimation,
TwoPointestimation,Threepointestimation,reserveanalysis
3.Outputs:Activitydurationestimates,activityattributeupdatesandestimates

Scheduledevelopment

1.Inputs:Organizationalprocessassets,ProjectscopeStatement,Activitylist,Activityattributes,project
ScheduleNetworkdiagrams,Activityresourcerequirements,Resourcecalendars,Activityduration
estimates,projectmanagementplan,riskregister
2.Tools:ScheduleNetworkAnalysis,Criticalpathmethod,schedulecompression,whatifscenarioanalysis,
resourcesleveling,criticalchainmethod,projectmanagementsoftware,applyingcalendars,adjustingleads
andlags,schedulemodel
3.Outputs:Projectschedule,Schedulemodeldata,schedulebaseline,resourcerequirementsupdate,activity
attributes,projectcalendarupdates,requestchanges,projectmanagementplanupdates,schedule
managementplanupdates

Schedulecontrol

1.Inputs:Schedulemanagementplan,schedulebaseline,performancereports,approvedchangerequests
2.Tools:Progressiveelaborationreporting,schedulechangecontrolsystem,performancemeasurement,project
managementsoftware,variance,analysis,schedulecomparisonbarcharts
3.Outputs:Schedulemodeldataupdates,schedulebaseline.performancemeasurement,requestedchanges,
recommendedcorrectiveactions,organizationalprocessassets,activitylistupdates,activityattribute
updates,projectmanagementplanupdates

Duetothecomplexnatureofthe'Time'processgrouptheprojectmanagementcredentialPMIScheduling
Professional(PMISP)wascreated.

Cost

Todevelopanapproximationofaprojectcostdependsonseveralvariablesincluding:resources,workpackages
suchaslaborratesandmitigatingorcontrollinginfluencingfactorsthatcreatecostvariances.Toolsusedincost
are,riskmanagement,costcontingency,costescalation,andindirectcosts.Butbeyondthisbasicaccounting
approachtofixedandvariablecosts,theeconomiccostthatmustbeconsideredincludesworkerskilland
productivitywhichiscalculatedusingvariousprojectcostestimatetools.Thisisimportantwhencompanieshire
temporaryorcontractemployeesoroutsourcework.

CostProcessAreas
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CostEstimatingisanapproximationofthecostofallresourcesneededtocompleteactivities.
Costbudgetingaggregatingtheestimatedcostsofresources,workpackagesandactivitiestoestablishacost
baseline.
CostControlfactorsthatcreatecostfluctuationandvariancecanbeinfluencedandcontrolledusing
variouscostmanagementtools.

ProjectManagementCostEstimatingTools[8]

AnalogousEstimating:Usingthecostofsimilarprojecttodeterminethecostofthecurrentproject
DeterminingResourceCostrates:Thecostofgoodsandlaborbyunitgatheredthroughestimatesor
estimation.
BottomUpestimating:Usingthelowestlevelofworkpackagedetailandsummarizingthecostassociated
withit.Thenrollingituptoahigherlevelaimedandcalculatingtheentirecostoftheproject.
ParametricEstimating:Measuringthestatisticalrelationshipbetweenhistoricaldataandothervariableor
flow.
VendorBidAnalysis:takingtheaverageofseveralbidsgivenbyvendorsfortheproject.
ReserveAnalysis:Aggregatethecostofeachactivityonthenetworkpaththenaddacontingencyorreserve
totheendresultoftheanalysisbyafactordeterminedbytheprojectmanager.
CostofQualityAnalysis:Estimatingthecostatthehighestqualityforeachactivity.

Projectmanagementsoftwarecanbeusedtocalculatethecostvariancesforaproject.

Scope

Requirementsspecifiedtoachievetheendresult.Theoveralldefinitionofwhattheprojectissupposedto
accomplish,andaspecificdescriptionofwhattheendresultshouldbeoraccomplish.Amajorcomponentof
scopeisthequalityofthefinalproduct.Theamountoftimeputintoindividualtasksdeterminestheoverallquality
oftheproject.Sometasksmayrequireagivenamountoftimetocompleteadequately,butgivenmoretimecould
becompletedexceptionally.Overthecourseofalargeproject,qualitycanhaveasignificantimpactontimeand
cost(orviceversa).

Together,thesethreeconstraintshavegivenrisetothephrase"OnTime,OnSpec,OnBudget."Inthiscase,the
term"scope"issubstitutedwith"spec(ification)."

EvolutionoftheProjectConstraintModel
TraditionallytheProjectConstraintModelrecognisedthreekey
constraints"Cost","Time"and"Scope".Theseconstraintsconstructa
trianglewithgeometricproportionsillustratingthestrong
interdependentrelationshipbetweenthesefactors.Ifthereisa
requirementtoshiftanyoneofthesefactorsthenatleastoneofthe
otherfactorsmustalsobemanipulated.[5]

WithmainstreamacceptanceoftheTriangleModel,"Cost"and"Time"
appeartoberepresentedconsistently."Scope"howeverisoftenused
interchangeablygiventhecontextofthetriangle'sillustrationorthe
perceptionoftherespectiveproject.Scope/Goal/Product/
TheProjectManagementDiamondModel
Deliverable/Qualityareallrelativelysimilarandgenericvariation
examplesofthis,whiletheabovesuggestionof'PeopleResources'
offersamorespecialisedinterpretation.

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Thiswidespreaduseofvariationsimpliesalevelofambiguitycarried
bythenuanceofthethirdconstrainttermandofcoursealevelof
valueintheflexibilityoftheTriangleModel.Thisambiguityallows
blurredfocusbetweenaproject'soutputandproject'sprocess,withthe
exampletermsabovehavingpotentiallydifferentimpetusinthetwo
contexts.Both"Cost"and"Time"representthetoplevelproject's
inputs.

TheProjectDiamondmodel[9]engendersthisblurredfocusthrough
theinclusionof"Scope"and"Quality"separatelyasthethird
constraint.Whilethereismeritintheadditionof"Quality"asakey
constrainingfactor,acknowledgingtheincreasingmaturityofproject
TheProjectManagementStarperPMBOK
management,thismodelstilllacksclaritybetweenoutputandprocess.
TheDiamondModeldoesnotcapturetheanalogyofthestrong
interrelationbetweenpointsofthetriangleshowever.

PMBOK4.0offeredanevolvedmodelbasedonthetripleconstraint
with6factorstobemonitoredandmanaged.[10]Thisisillustratedasa
6pointedStarthatmaintainsthestrengthofthetriangleanalogy(two
overlaidtriangles),whileatthesametimerepresentstheseparation
andrelationshipbetweenprojectinputs/outputsfactorsononetriangle
andtheprojectprocessesfactorsontheother.Thestarvariablesare:

1.Triangle
Scope
Cost
Time
2.Triangle
Risk InterpretationofTriangleModel
Quality
Resources

Whenconsideringtheambiguityofthethirdconstraintandthe
suggestionsofthe"ProjectDiamond"itispossibletoconsiderinstead
theGoalorProductoftheprojectasthethirdconstraint,beingmade
upofthesubfactors"Scope"and"Quality".Intermsofaproject's
outputboth"Scope"and"Quality"canbeadjustedresultinginan
overallmanipulationoftheGoal/Product.Thisinterpretationincludes
thefourkeyfactorsintheoriginaltriangleinputs/outputsform.This
canevenbeincorporatedintothePMBOKStarillustratingthat
"Quality"inparticularmaybemonitoredseparatelyintermsofproject
outputsandprocess.Furthertothissuggestion,theuseofterm"Goal"
maybestrepresentchangeinitiativeoutputs,whileProductmaybest
representmoretangibleoutputs.[11]

Seealso InterpretationofStarModel

Trilemma

References
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1.ErikBethke(2003).GameDevelopmentandProduction.p.65.
2.MichaelW.Newell,MarinaN.Grashina(2004).TheProjectManagementQuestionandAnswerBook.p.8
3.PamelaMcGhee,PeterMcAliney(2007).PainlessProjectManagement.p.74.
4.MichaelGentile,RonaldD.Collette,ThomasD.August(2005).TheCISOHandbook.p.172
5.(Chatfield,Carl."Ashortcourseinprojectmanagement".Microsoft.)
6.CarlS.Chatfield,TimothyD.Johnson(2003).MicrosoftOfficeProject2003StepbyStep:StepbyStep.P.476
7.Lewis,JamesP.(2005).ProjectPlanning,Scheduling&Control,4E.McGrawHill.ISBN9780071460378.
8.PMBOKThirdEdition2004p.165
9.(Brown,Craig."ItusedtobetheIronTriangle".BetterProject.)
10.ProjectManagementInstitute(2009)AGuidetotheProjectManagementBodyofKnowledge:PMBOKGuide.Chapter1
11.Brem(2011)T214UnderstandingComplexSystemsTMA02.Q4

Externallinks
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