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Scope, Time & Cost

Scope, Time & Cost

Author: Sophia Tutorial

This lesson discusses the interplay between time, scope and cost in a project.

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Scope, Time, and Cost

What's Covered

This lesson will discuss the relationship between elements of a project by focusing on:

  1. Triple Constraint
  2. Project Management Tools


A change in scope, time, or cost will often impact each other. This is 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 cannot be changed in size without impacting the other two sides.

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.

Example An increase in scope, like the addition of a better quality surface on road construction, will also cause an increase in the length of the schedule and the size of the budget.

Example If you increase the amount of money available for the development of a video game, the scope of features and the time or resources 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.

A project manager must keep all of these relationships in mind as he or she moves a project toward its goals, and must also remind others of these constraints.

Let’s move on from triangles to tools.


Though a project manager can use any tools at his/her disposal, there are a few that are necessary for almost any project. Tools, such as templates, 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 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, 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.


This tutorial demonstrated how the triple constraint of scope, time, and cost impact a project. Project management tools such as templates and scheduling software help project managers keep a close eye on scope, time, and cost.

Good luck!

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Jeff Carroll.