The Project Management Triangle: What You Need to Know


The project management triangle, also known as the triple constraints or iron triangle shows the three main interdependent factors that affect the execution of a project. Team managers should be able to balance the time, cost, and scope of the project to be able to maintain a high-quality product. 

The theory here is that “no single variable of the project triangle can be changed without making tradeoffs with the other two points of the triangle” (Team Asana, 2021). It is the team’s responsibility to keep the balance of the three elements to meet the requirements of the project, its timelines, and the budget. 

The Three Constraints

Time. Numerous factors can affect the timeline of the project. It includes the number of people working on it, their experience, skills, and expertise. Tradeoffs on this element mean extended deadlines, elimination of planning phases or adjusted working calendar. 

Here’s an example of compromising on time:

“I want this website to support purchases and I want it done cheap.”

“We’ll need to make the website secure and compliant with the law. If you’re not going to pay for more help, people will have to double up on work, and that will take time” (ILX Marketing Team, 2019).

Cost. When starting a project, it is important to set the expectations on budget first. It is to ensure that both parties are amenable to the resources needed to complete the work. This element of the triangle does not focus only on money, but also resources such as tools, equipment, and support required to complete the product.

Here’s an example of compromising on cost:

“I want this website to support purchases and I want it done quick.”

“We’ll have to either employ more staff or push our other work out of the way. You’ll have to pay for that, or it won’t be worth it for us” (ILX Marketing Team, 2019).

Scope. This element refers to the size of the project. It looks at the outcome expected from the project, including the quality and detail of the product deliverable. 

Here’s an example of compromising on scope:

“I want this website done cheap and quick.”

“If you’re not paying much, we’ll have to either rely on junior developers or really cut back on what the website can do, possibly just using a template site with limited e-commerce features” (ILX Marketing Team, 2019).

The project management triangle simplifies the triple constraints of a project that needs to be balanced in order to ensure the success of product delivery. It is important that when undertaking a project, you choose your priorities, and set clear expectations for all parties involved. 


ILX Marketing Team. (2019). Project management triangle: overview of the triple constraints. Retrieved from https://www.prince2.com/uk/blog/project-triangle-constraints

Project Management Triangle. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.tutorialspoint.com/management_concepts/project_management_triangle.htm
Team Asana. (2021). What is the project management triangle and how can it help your team? Retrieved from https://asana.com/resources/project-management-triangle


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