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Over the years, project management has grown to be one of the foundational pillars of business growth. Successful companies that produce the most sustainable solutions are project-based. Project management is leveraged by organizations to remain responsive to market changes, optimize the use of resources and talent, minimize waste, and create quality solutions.
To define the constraints that every team encounters during the execution of projects, project managers utilize a model called the project management triangle. Also called the iron triangle of project management or triple constraints, the model helps a project team perform an in-depth analysis of projects to counter major constraints.
Keep reading to find out 13 project management challenges you can tackle with a project management triangle.
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Organizations all over the globe have embraced the significance of engaging independent, flexible, and collaborative project teams. Specialized teams, tackling specific projects while carving opportunities in dynamic markets, is a major contributing factor to success and profitability. But, every team is presented with an array of challenges that require special attention.
The project management triangle is one of the most important project management buzzwords; it is a model that represents the major constraints of project management. It defines the limitations applicable in every project across all domains. This concept has been around since the 1950s and lies at the heart of project management. Therefore, the triangle remains an indispensable part of a project manager’s career.
The project management triangle represents the following constraints:
Based on the complexity and nature of the tasks involved, the time taken to complete each project will vary. The duration could also depend on other factors, such as the number of people in the team as well as their experience, skills, and resources at their disposal. Essentially, every project team is bound by time constraints. Failure to meet deadlines could have adverse effects on business growth. The most common reason for failure to complete tasks on time is the dearth of resources.
Source: Visual Paradigm
A strategic project manager knows how to lead a project to success without using more money than he or she should. Failure to manage costs will pave the way for serious financial setbacks. This is why cost (or budget) is perhaps the most important element in the project management triangle. The idea is to estimate budgets beforehand, so you will not run out of money before the project is complete. Project managers use various parameters, such as historic data and resource costs, to forecast expenses.
The scope is an important aspect of project management; all the planning and execution that goes into the project are built upon the scope you develop. The scope of the project is developed by defining the activities and tasks that need to be performed to complete the project. It also describes the trajectory of the project growth. It covers everything from potential risk and scope creep the team may encounter along the way.
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The following are challenges a project manager can overcome by leveraging the project management triangle:
1) Toxic Optimism
Toxic optimism is a severe threat that can derail project growth. Overestimation, or false estimation of resources at hand, can culminate in disaster. But, sticking to the project management triangle can help a project team keep things in check and stay in touch with reality. That way, the schedule and targets remain realistic and achievable.
2) Underestimation of Cost
Underestimation of cost is one of the most frequent mistakes in project development environments. There is no easy way to arrive at the right estimation of expenses; however, there are several methods to shield your organization from unwanted surprises. One of the best ways to avoid underestimation of costs is to use the project management triangle effectively to stay grounded in reality and facts.
3) Accountability Issues
Your budget probably covers all the nitty-gritty details of expenses, so your resource allocation may be on point. But, if nobody keeps track of everything that happens during the project lifecycle, your team might exhaust the resources before the project ends. Paying close attention to every aspect of the triple constraints is, therefore, a necessity.
4) Increase in Personnel Cost
The rising cost associated with personnel usually occurs when more people need to be introduced into the project team. This is done to address scope creep and rescheduled deadlines. Personnel cost can be kept in check by making sure that every team member understands the ins and outs of the project scope.
5) Internal Delays
These delays usually involve sequential activities that are dependent on each other and take place chronologically. Such tasks, if not executed in time, can disrupt the project schedule. This is why time is defined as one of the constraints in the project management triangle. Monitoring task dependencies and consistently communicating with the teams-in-charge is how you keep everyone in the loop and stick to your schedule.
6) External Delays
This challenge is also associated with project time management. External delays are usually caused by an external source, such as a resource supplier. Their delay in delivering your materials affects your project schedule. Make sure vendors do not disregard your important delivery dates and timelines.
7) General Project Delays
Since major projects involve many factors, such as license agreements, litigation expenses, insurances, salaries, and more, project delays are always unpleasant. The entire budget and predetermined schedule are restructured to accommodate these changes.
8) Obscure Requirements
No matter how clearly you have defined your project requirements in your project scope statement, at some point you are likely to encounter scope creep. This is why properly defining the scope of a project can save you time and resources. An in-depth breakdown of the project and careful project scope management, based on the market trends, can help you develop a precise scope without misinterpretation.
9) Unprecedented Changes
A project team should always anticipate changes, especially in Agile environments. Customer demands and the market are ever evolving. The requirements you defined in the planning phase might change when you are halfway through the project lifecycle. The project management triangle reminds managers to stay flexible and cautious.
10) Communication Barriers
Poor communication is a severe threat to successful project execution. An efficient project manager needs to devise strategic communication plans to convey the right messages to team members and stakeholders. You cannot expect your clients to have a concrete understanding of project management basics, especially when they ask for a change in requirements; they could be unaware of the correlation between time, cost, and scope of the project. Using the illustrations of the iron triangle will help them understand what is at stake.
11) New Requirements
Sometimes, a team member may raise new requirements; your team could already be focusing on the predetermined features. If the schedule allows, there is no harm in incorporating these changes. At times, it could disrupt the schedule, exhaust the budget, and derail progress. This is where project managers need to put their foot down and make the call.
12) Change in Specifications
If you leave project specifications loosely defined, you are leaving holes for future scope creep. If your client demands additional specifications, your team will not only lose focus, they will also be forced to burn more money and resources than necessary. Factors, such as timelines and budget, are very important parameters that affect product quality. Make sure you accept such proposals by taking into account the project management triangle.
13) Internal Factors
One of the most common scope constraints includes stakeholders requesting new deliverables beyond those agreed upon. A project manager should step in and defend the project plan, citing the project management triangle.
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There are several reasons to choose a PMP bootcamp over a self-paced course. Apart from sharing an immersive atmosphere with candidates who have the same aspirations that you do, a PMP bootcamp is an experience that can boost your understanding of core concepts, such as the project management triangle.
Here is how bootcamps can help you address the challenges of project management using the project management triangle.
GreyCampus is a PMI Authorized Training Partner (ATP) and a leading provider of PMP certification training. The program comes with audio/video lectures, quality learning materials, simulated tests, practice questions, and assured 35 contact hours. The bootcamp is a 6-month intensive training program designed to help candidates crack the PMP certification exam in one go. It offers unlimited access to live classes and a one-year mentorship.
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