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Scope, Time, and Cost

Scope, Time, and Cost

Author: Jeff Carroll

Identify constraints on time, scope or cost in a project.

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Source: Image of road, Public Domain,; Image of joystick, Public Domain, ; Image of office building, Public Domain, ; Image of template, Public Domain, ; Image of scheduling software, Public Domain, ; Image of flowchart, Public Domain,

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Jeff, and in this lesson, we'll discuss the relationship between scope, time, and cost.

We're discussing these items together because there's a strong connection between all three. A change in one often impacts the other two, and that's known as a triple constraint. It's often represented as a triangle with scope, time, and cost on each side. Why a triangle? Because it visually reminds us that one side can't be changed in size without impacting the other two sides.

For example, an increase in scope, like the addition of a better quality surface onto a road construction, will also cause an increase in the length of the schedule and the size of the budget. Increase the cost, or the amount of money available for the development of a video game, and the scope of features and the time or resources available can increase too. And any change in schedule, either the addition of time on the work on an office building takes longer or a reduction in time, like if the office building must be completed sooner, then the scope of the work and the cost will drop too.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that this triangle is often referred to as the Project Management Triangle. As you can see, it includes the three primary areas that could be managed to help a project succeed. Also, the inside of the triangle is sometimes referred to as quality since it is the result of all the other criteria.

A project manager must keep all of these relationships in mind as they got a project toward its goals, and they must also remind others of these constraints. All right, let's move on from triangles to tools, project management tools to be specific.

Though a project manager can use any tools at their disposal, there are a few that are necessary for almost any project. Tools, such as templates, these are forms that are used to fill in details about scope, schedule, change management, any area where communications need to be consistent. Templates improve efficiency, but they also help stakeholders become comfortable with the formats used to exchange information.

Project scheduling software, there are quite a few options, and organizations often determine what is used on all projects. But they all have similar capabilities. So once a project manager is familiar with one piece of software, picking up others becomes easier. Most will offer the ability to create tasks, assign resources, track the work completed, all aspects of a schedule.

Finally, as you know from watching these lessons, visual displays can greatly enhance communication. Project managers will use charts, graphs, flow charts, and any other visual tool that conveys information, especially those that simplify complex subjects, like the Project Management Triangle we discussed earlier.

And that's it for this lesson. To summarize, we discussed why scope, time, and cost can be represented by the Project Management Triangle and a few of the tools used by project managers.

Thanks for your time, and have a great day.

Terms to Know
Triple Constraint

Engages three key factors of a project: scope, time and cost.  A change in scope, time, or cost can impact the quality of a deliverable.