The Four-Sided Triangle

More than ten years ago my boss explained the Software Management Triangle to me.  As he taught project management to engineers, I expected it to be timeless and precious wisdom. He wandered into my nobicle (it only had one wall so not a cubicle) and revealed that our project was in trouble. But he had a cunning technique to get back on track.

“Time, Cost or Scope.”, he said in a decisive tone, “Pick one.”.  The project was his baby so I knew reducing the scope was out of the question. We also liked the loose deadline. Thus only the Cost was changed; it spiraled out of control and the project was shut down.  That was my introduction to the Triangle.

What my would-be mentor did not mention is that the sacrifice for cutting down on any of those three items was Quality, which we wanted to keep high. However there is another, hidden part of the Triangle that can affect all others. It is known by many names but I like to call it simply “Location! Location! Location!”.

I believe that even in this era of telecommuting and high-speed networks, being in the right place is still an important aspect of success.  There is still no better way to understand someone’s requirements than to meet them face to face. It is still difficult to get people interested in your projects or what you can do if they can’t see you.  And synergy and other partnerships just can’t get started without a good handshake or some other way to get a ‘gut feeling’ about the other party. Off-shoring and outsourcing are all about changing the location factor; this change can improve or reduce quality.

That’s why I want to announce that I made the jump – from a small city with lots of resources (especially top-level programmers and analysts) but no real funds and large enterprises to Montreal, where there’s so many openings that rifling through IT jobs search engines takes about 20 hours.

Now all I need is some time, money and scope to manage!