I hear a lot of talk about ‘on time and on budget’ and it is often held up as the pinnacle of human achievement. And perhaps sometimes it is. But as with so much in life, there is often more to it.

But when people talk about the virtues of these two things, I get a bit niggled by it.  After all, what about the work itself?  And more importantly the implications of the work itself?  It that less important?  This may come as a shock to some, but there are cases where ‘on time and on budget’ may matter less compared to doing the right thing.  The right thing is what people remember, and is why we are here as IT professionals, surely? This doesn’t of course mean money is no object and it is open season to do whatever we want. It’s simply that different projects and situations sometimes need different treatments.

Remember this?:

Project Management Triangle

As we all know, ‘time’ and ‘budget’ (or cost) are only two points of the project management triangle: ‘scope’ (or maybe to put it differently  ’doing the right thing’) being the third.  Furthermore, it is an equilateral triangle: ‘time’, ‘budget’ and ‘scope’ matter equally.  

These three things are constantly competing with eachother, but at the same time you can’t have all three. That is the dilemma. The outcome may well be different on each piece of work. And this isn’t an indication of insitutional failure or acts of wrongdoing. It’s just life. There is no need to philosophise further.

Unfortunately, take away ‘time’ and ‘budget’ and the what you are left with is probably the most difficult part to explain and understand.   Is that why it conveniently gets left out?

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