The project monitoring triangle visualizes the trouble of “triple constraints”—the must balance scope, cost, and also time in bespeak to keep a high-quality final product. Every task manager who has known the frustration of do the efforts to keep their team fertile with too small time, not sufficient budget, and also an impossibly huge scope has actually experienced the project administration triangle in action.

You are watching: The major variables in project management are

No solitary variable of the project triangle deserve to be changed without make tradeoffs through the other two clues of the triangle. That the task manager’s project to balance all three aspects in stimulate to keep their project within budget and also on attributed while quiet fulfilling the specifications that the project’s scope.

Below we failure and examine the 3 points that the project management triangle, exactly how they’re related, and also how project managers deserve to keep castle in balance to ensure job success.

What is the project management triangle?

The project management triangle is consisted of of 3 variables that determine the top quality of the project: scope, cost, and also time.

The triangle demonstrates exactly how these three variables are linked—if one of the variables is changed, the other two have to be changed in stimulate to keep the triangle connected. If the triangle breaks—that is, if one suggest is relocated without adjusting one or both of the other points along with it—the high quality of the project will suffer.


It’s a task manager’s job to balance the 3 points of the triangle to attain the best possible quality while staying within budget, top top deadline, and adhering come the project specifications.

Read: exactly how to effectively regulate your team’s workload

How scope, cost, and time room related

There space two species of relationship at play in the job triangle. The first is the relationship between scope and the two other project variables. Limit is directly proportional come both time and also cost, which way it moves in the very same direction together those factors. When scope increases, time and also money must likewise increase in bespeak to tackle a bigger project.

Try project planning in

The second type of connection is the relationship in between time and also cost, which is one inversely proportional relationship. This two factors move in opposite directions. If expenses need to be cut, then deadlines will have to be extended; yet if you encounter a suddenly time crunch, you’ll require extra budget to adjust to shorter timelines.

These 2 relationships can't be altered—nothing you have the right to do will make it possible to readjust one variable without bring about a equivalent change, either straight or inversely, in the various other two clues on the triangle. This is why the project triangle is often dubbed the stole triangle the triple constraints. No matter how solid a job manager is, the steel triangle can't it is in bent to your will.

Read: The beginner’s guide to the theory of constraints

The triangle’s triple constraints

In stimulate to save all three elements in check, the task manager must have a deep knowledge of each individual variable and also where they have the chance to be versatile to accommodate transforms throughout the project. 



Scope is the “size” of the task in regards to the quality, detail, and also magnitude of the project’s deliverables. As the dimension of the task increases, the will normally require more time and also money in order come complete.

Elements of task scope can include:

Project complexity

Quantity of finished product(s)

Output quality

Strength (e.g., the number of simultaneous users an app can support)

Level of detail

Number and also complexity of features

Be mindful to protect against “scope creep” by finalizing job plans and also getting job stakeholders to sign off ~ above everything before production begins. 


For functions of the task triangle, price isn’t minimal to literal meaning dollar amounts. Regularly referred to together “resources,” this triangle point includes every one of the tools, equipment, and support required to finish the project. 

Elements that scope could include:

Financial budget

Number the team members

Equipment and also facilities

Key opportunities

The cost/resources variable includes much more than simply literal money, yet generally everything within this point can it is in tied earlier to a financial value. Because that example, adding employees requires additional budget because that salaries; taking an opportunity to keep offices open much longer requires additional budget for hours of electrical energy usage.

Read: Your guide to obtaining started with resource management


When adjusting for time, store in mind the the lot of time is as important as the kind of time you're measuring. Tradeoffs have the right to require prolonged deadlines, adjustments to team calendar software, elimination of planning phases, and also more.

Elements that time might include:

Overall project timeline

Hours worked on project

Internal calendars and goalposts

Time allotted because that planning and also strategy

Number of job phases

If budget is reduced or limit is increased, you’ll require to uncover smart means to compensate through loosening one or much more of her project's time constraints, whether by expanding deadlines, including hours, or making various other schedule adjustments.

The wildcard factor: innovation

When someone find a new way of doing something that boosts cost-efficiency or speed, this adjustment have the right to be made without a corresponding change in the other points that the project management triangle. 

For example, who on your team finds a means to enhance the use of a tool crucial to your project. This tweak to your production methodology may enable you to achieve more within a shortened project schedule or job-related with a smaller project team. 

Similarly, any kind of updates come the production procedure that can aid standardize flows and cut down on decision-making time will enable your team to work much more efficiently there is no sacrificing quality. Investing in administration tools prefer standardized sales templates or project monitoring software will cut down on wasted time and also costs without impacting quality or border of a project.

Strategies for regulating the task triangle

Now that you understand what the project triangle is, right here are a couple of tips on just how to placed it to good use in her day-to-day work. It's a good idea to reference the five project management phases too to identify areas of overlap.

Choose her priorities

The central concept behind the project triangle is the no project can be successful with three rigidly fixed points. At the very least one suggest needs to it is in flexible, so that you know where you have room to do adjustments as soon as they become necessary.

If your priority is staying on budget, an unforeseen obstacle deserve to be encountered by pushing earlier your deadline quite than hiring more staff come troubleshoot that quickly. If her client’s timeline is rigid, it’s way to gain extra budget pre-approved so you have actually the sources to resolve challenges without delaying production.

Set clean expectations

Once you understand the limits and priorities for your project, interact them plainly to your client and any stakeholders in the project to avoid unmet expectations and unhappy owners. 

In markets frequently influenced by unanticipated complications, favor construction and engineering, contract will encompass special facets that aid the task manager acquire all stakeholders on the same page before the job begins. These facets include:

Contingency budgets approved ahead the time through client

List of typical potential delaying factors (weather, natural disasters, local events, etc.)

List of generally used to plan of action for each delay that estimates cost and time that would have to be added in instance of every contingency

Give stakeholders a clear knowledge of what kinds of events may occur and also how lock might influence costs and timelines, and get the client’s choices recorded for this reason you deserve to reference them later when you must make an adjustment in your task triangle. As soon as the task is finished, there will certainly be no confusion as to why those adjustments were made.

Read: 12 advice to effective interaction in the workplace

Update frequently

Once you’ve set an agreed-upon setup of action that consists of potential budget, schedule, and scope adjustments for various potential circumstances, be sure to keep all stakeholders informed of any kind of changes and predictions throughout your project. 

If a supplier informs you they’re low on a important resource, upgrade your customer and also project owner come let them understand that yes a potential for delay. If you operation out of your resource, her stakeholders will certainly be apprised the the situation and also ready for whatever adjustments you have to make. If you don’t operation out of the resource, you and your customer will both feel more confident discovering that girlfriend were all set for all scenarios.

Adjusting the triangle to your administration style

There are plenty of approaches to project administration that prioritize different project variables and, together a result, have different project triangles. Below we’ve sorted seven typical project management methods into those that prioritize low costs and also those that prioritize time saved.


Resource-saving task methods

Projects through stricter budgets and an ext flexibility in timeline will advantage from these project management methods, i beg your pardon prioritize efficient resource usage.

Waterfall: project phases space completed sequentially, therefore timelines need to be flexible since a delay in one step will require adjustments come all subsequent phases

Lean: prioritizes minimal costs and resources, allowing for longer timelines or border cutbacks come keep job within budget

Time-saving job methods

In instances where time is of the essence, these project monitoring methods can eliminate unnecessary downtime and expedite project processes to keep teams relocating swiftly.

Scrumban: combine collaborative and constant nature of Kanban procedure with Scrum’s day-to-day team reviews to much better minimize work-in-progress time

Of course, the goal of every technique is to uncover the optimal balance in between low costs, rapid speeds, and also high quality. But since the project monitoring triangle calls for prioritization the at least one variable, these techniques skew in the direction of whichever variable is most necessary to the team.

Use the triple limit to her advantage

Though the iron triangle and its mechanism of triple constraints might seem limiting at first, when you learn exactly how to apply them in your enterprise project management process, you’ll discover that these tools will actually make your jobs run an ext smoothly. With a better understanding of her limitations and flexibilities front of time, you deserve to avoid i have lot of money setbacks.

See more: How Far Is Detroit From Canada Border ? How Far Is Canada From Detroit By Car

In addition, the stole triangle will help ensure you pick the ideal project management software, create processes, and collection up your production so that your team have the right to hit the floor running. After that, yes no telling what you will do it be may be to attain together.