Understanding the Famous Balance Time QualityBudget

PM Milestone Project Management Templates

PM Milestone Business Templates

Get Instant Access

When you take a close look at your project, what do you have the most of? Do you have lots of time in which to get your project done? Do you have oodles of cash? Is there a high expectation of quality relative in the project' s deliverables? These three things represent the famous circle that project managers chase.

If you have plenty of cash and time, then the quality is likely to be very high. However, if you don't have much cash, then you have to establish how the quality will be affected. You might realize that you need a lot more time in order to bring in a high-quality deliverable. And if you have a lot of cash, it is reasonable to assume that it will take less time to produce the same quality deliverables than if you had a smaller budget.

Note Budget" is a bit of a misnomer in the equation. Budget implies resources, which can include people. It' s very possible that if you throw enough people at a project, you can attain the deliverable within the prescribed timeline and with the quality that you' re looking for. Just remember that people represent an expense. Also, adding people sometimes simply won' t produce faster or better results. Look at it this way: you can' t take nine pregnant women and have a baby in a month! So, while the prudent use of the correct people for a project may enhance the TQB balance, think twice.

These three project elements are so intrinsically tied to one another that you can almost think of them as a three-bar slide rule. If you move one of the elements too far to the left, then something else has to adjust to compensate. Figure 3.1 shows this imaginary slide rule.

Figure 3.1: The TQB slide rule What compensates might be the overall success of the project, or one particular aspect. In the figure, you can see that an increase in time and budget results in a high-quality outcome. The slide rule is simply designed to illustrate that you can reduce budget in a project, but the quality or the time required for that project will react opposite to the

Figure 3.1: The TQB slide rule What compensates might be the overall success of the project, or one particular aspect. In the figure, you can see that an increase in time and budget results in a high-quality outcome. The slide rule is simply designed to illustrate that you can reduce budget in a project, but the quality or the time required for that project will react opposite to the reduction. The three sliders, added together, equal the project' s success. Thus you can, in fact, move just one slider down, but only to the detriment of the overall success.

Every project will have its own values and sensitivities here. To use some imaginary numbers, your project could use a scale from 0 to 100 and then define "success" as a total of 250 on the three sliders. Or "success" could be a Quality of 100, with your project losing a point on the Q slider for every two points of reduction on the T or B sliders.

When considering TQB, there are several things we must take into account and provide an estimate for in the project scope document. Let ' s review some of the key areas of concern.

Behind curtain 1: TQB impact on client satisfaction The TQB question needs to be asked of the client: "Given the constraints of time, quality, and budget, which is your highest priority, at the expense of the other two?" Note that project implementation may well be delayed while you grapple with this question, especially if the stakeholders fail to grasp the importance of the answer.

Behind curtain 2: The worst-case scenario The next thing you need to ascertain is the worst-case scenario the client will accept in terms of the TQB equation. In other words, given a budget that ' s set in concrete, you need to determine how much quality deterioration the client will allow before too much time has elapsed. In this worst case, you need to strike a reasonable balance among the three.

Behind curtain 3: The project manager's confidence level Given the budget that you have to work with, the projected completion date, and input from the client, attempt to gauge your confidence level in producing a good-quality deliverable. There ' s a funny saying; perhaps you' ve seen it: "If momma ain 't happy, nobody' s happy!" The PM' s job is like that of momma. As PM, you are the one with your finger on the pulse of the project, and you probably will have gut instincts (and paper evidence) about how well the project is doing. If you have a sense that the TQB slider is slanted too much toward cost savings and that quality ' s going to suffer drastically, it ' s red-flag time and you need to make sure the sponsor' s aware of it. Otherwise, the sponsor might be thinking everything ' s moving ahead swimmingly and the project' s going to come out just fine.

Note Intuitively, you must realize by now that the quality of a deliverable is usually the one thing that cannot sink too far.

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