Good, Fast, Cheap – Pick Two

We all operate under the same immutable laws; gravity, thermodynamics, and that fries will fall between your car seats. There’s another law that governs what we get and it’s called the Golden Triangle.

You only get two out of three of these things. You could get one, or none, but at best, you’ll only get two.

Choose wisely.

And that’s the rub – we’re often not aware that we’re choosing – we’re defaulting to the hope that we can have all three.

When we are aware that we’re choosing, we’re likely not sharing those thoughts with the other stakeholders on the project. You may have chosen fast & inexpensive due to budget/time constraints but your Service Manager is expecting Quality to be an integral factor in the project and you two never commiserated.

One party believes going fast is vital to achieving the mission right now. Another thinks we’re better served by a quality approach that creates less work down the road. Another is firm that the budget is sacred and inflexible.

They’re all right. But they can’t all be right at the same time.

For “Turn,” an annual project that can cost between $100k and $500k for some operations, this question is paramount but rarely discussed. Time is an essential part of the equation – you only have 2-3 weeks so that’s one point of the triangle chosen. So what gets yeeted into space? Quality or Cost? You can’t have all three. If someone tells you that you can they’re either stupid or lying.

In all projects you’re working on, take a moment to acknowledge the triangle and which two points you’re choosing. More importantly, share that thinking with everyone else on the team to ensure all views are aligned on the objective.



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