(Continued from a semester class post.)
Earlier in the semester, I wrote a class post describing a scenario that I experienced in my day job involving the triple constraint1, and how changing one of the three constraints affected the others in a drastic way. I wanted to think about the triple constraint as it applied to a marketing role and specifically, a marketing campaign.
For background, back in April, one of my program directors came to me with an idea for a marketing campaign for his program. With a large budget in mind, meetings with campus partners set, a clear timeline, and plenty of buffer-time, we felt well-prepared to put this project together. As far as the triple constraint, we had a clear picture of our cost, timeline, and we were working on setting the scope of the campaign.
Despite our early preparation, we never got the campaign off the ground. In class, we discussed how adjusting one of the three constraints in the triple constraint triangle can drastically affect the rest of the constraints. But we didn’t exactly talk about what happens if one of the constraints is eliminated completely. That’s exactly what happened in my scenario – our budget to spend on the campaign was never approved by upper management. While we had clear expectations and were on track to launch on time, the campaign had to be pushed to the following semester.
I’m revisiting this post because today is the day that we submit our project management simulation results. In this simulation, you test out different variables of a project to see how it affects the outcomes, including the number of team members, the timeline, the number of meetings in a day, and the number of prototypes you build. In this simulation, there were far more variables to consider than just scope, cost, and time.
I found the simulation very interesting, and a bit more realistic than I expected with how one small change can have drastic consequences. Most notably, I felt that in doing the simulation, I had a better grasp of how many variables need to be managed for a project to be a success. In the case of my marketing scenario, I realized the hard way that there are quite a few more variables that need consideration aside from simply the budget, cost, and timeline. The triple constraint doesn’t exactly account for human error, human dynamics, or decision-making from stakeholders.
As we move forward into the fall and pick up where we left off with this marketing campaign, I will be keeping in mind my exploration of the project management simulation, and often reminding me that there are many moving parts to managing a project, and it will take clear and frequent communication to ensure success.
- Izquierdo, Robert. The Blueprint, fool.com. “The Project Manager’s Guide to the Triple Constraint” https://www.fool.com/the-blueprint/triple-constraint/