Prioritizing the Scope Triangle

You are probably wondering why we would want to do this or even what it means to prioritize the scope triangle. First, let's define the scope triangle, and then we can talk intelligently about what it means to prioritize it and why we want to do that. Figure 14.4 is the scope triangle that is used in APF. It's the same one that was introduced in Chapter 1 and is reproduced here for your convenience.

Figure 14.3 An example of the Q-Sort.

Recall that the scope triangle consists of five variables: time, cost, resource availability, scope, and quality. To understand the triangle, think in terms of geometry. There is a triangle whose area is defined by scope and quality. The triangle is bounded by the three sides defined by time, cost, and resource availability. The sides are exactly long enough to bound the area defined by scope and quality. This triangle also represents a system in balance because of its geometric properties. If any one of these variables should change (client wants the deliverables earlier than originally planned or a scarce resource leaves the company and will be very difficult to replace), the length of its line will decrease, and the three sides of the triangle could no longer encompass the area represented by scope and quality. Then one or more of the other variables must somehow change in order to bring this system back into balance.

Resource Availability Figure 14.4 The scope triangle.

In APF this scope triangle is used as our model for decision making. First, we have to prioritize the five variables that define the triangle. The highest-priority variable will be the one that we will change only as a last resort. For example, suppose we are developing a new release of a commercial software package, and getting to market first is very important to our business strategy. Time will be our highest-priority variable. Cost might be our second priority because the price points for this type of product are well-established by the competition.

A useful tool for establishing the scope triangle priorities was developed by Rob Thomsett in his book Radical Project Management (Prentice Hall, 2002). It is called success sliders. We have adapted it to the scope triangle as shown in Figure 14.5.

SCOPE: Stakeholder satisfaction

SCOPE: Met project objectives

SCOPE: Delivered expected business value

SCOPE: Did not exceed agreed budget

SCOPE: Delivered the product on time

SCOPE: Met all quality requirements

SCOPE: Met resource availability

Figure 14.5 Success sliders for the scope triangle.

SCOPE: Stakeholder satisfaction

SCOPE: Met project objectives

SCOPE: Delivered expected business value

SCOPE: Did not exceed agreed budget

SCOPE: Delivered the product on time

SCOPE: Met all quality requirements

SCOPE: Met resource availability

Figure 14.5 Success sliders for the scope triangle.

Think of each of these sliders as a dimmer switch. Accompanying each criterion is a dimmer switch that is set to ON or OFF, or any spot in between. If the dimmer switch is set to ON, then the constraint is binding. In other words, there is no room for compromise. That constraint must be met. For example, if the dimmer switch for the delivery date of the product was set to ON, that date is firm and may not be compromised. If the dimmer switch is set to OFF, the constraint is not binding. For example, if the dimmer switch for budget was set to OFF, that means that the budget constraint is not binding and more dollars can be made available for good business reasons. If the dimmer switch is set somewhere between ON and OFF, the sponsor is willing to negotiate that constraint. The closer the setting is to either endpoint, the more or less flexible the sponsor is willing to be. To determine the settings, the stakeholder should be asked for their individual opinions. The sponsor will use that data to make the final determination as to the settings.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment