The time-cost-quality balancing act: AKA the binding Iron Triangle
It’s time for the shackles to come off , don’t you think? The truth is, you have the power, and it lies in cloud-based software platforms.
The Iron Triangle—or, as it is more commonly known, the project management triangle—has influenced project teams for years. Summed up as “fast, good or cheap … pick two,” the concept asserts that there are firm boundaries on what is possible to produce. The triangle metaphor implies there is no way to provide goods or services that are simultaneously on budget, on time, and of high quality because of the competing nature of these priorities.
It’s time to rethink that notion because now the latest developments in software enable you to do just that. But not in the way you might imagine—with countless software applications required to run different aspects of your project. It’s no longer a game of software juggling. The future beyond the Iron Triangle lies in how products and programs work together, in one place, with constant updates that enable teams instead of disabling your IT department. The future is more promising than ever because it’s about working together—not apart.
Construction times they are a-changin’
You know project management problems intimately. Project teams can only excel if they are able to organize their work and manage the three cornerstones of project management: time, cost, and quality. There is often limited time available to complete a project, tight funding, and quality is constrained to what must be done to produce a usable and safe space at the project’s end. Various software solutions have been used by construction companies to help meet these critical demands, with particular success in using them to manage the demands of time and budget.
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When implemented, companies gained efficiencies and their businesses prospered. But for many, forward momentum has slowed. And for good reason. Singular software solutions have inherent limitations. Without the free flow of data, the back-and-forth collaboration to manage the three vertices of the Iron Triangle, how can project teams deliver quality projects on time and within budget? They can’t. But technology is nudging us forward and solutions are evolving to meet current needs.
What can the cloud do for me?
The cloud provides you with technology to set your company free. In the past, you were forced to deal with time-sinks with poor technology that wasn’t scalable. For example:
• Standalone computing—desktop or laptop computers that can be used on their own without requiring a connection to a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN)—is difficult to scale.
• Ever-larger files and growing data sets push storage and memory beyond capacity, and transferring information between multiple office locations can present severe challenges.
• Even though in-house networks and the Internet have become standard ways to connect computers, routine chores like data backup, software upgrades, and software customization can become time-consuming.
But today’s technology solutions are changing the game. The cloud can transfer the “heavy lifting” of calculation and data storage to remote computers and servers that are considerably faster and more powerful than stand-alone computers or companies’ internal networks. They are not as costly to install and maintain as software requiring on-premise installation and in-house upkeep and maintenance.
The future is more promising than ever because it’s about working together—not apart.
What if solutions worked together, even if they were built apart?
Consistency is important in construction. Heck, it’s important in business success. Period. And construction companies have sought after building “the” solution to answer the needs of various internal departments—but the results haven’t exactly been perfect. You are probably familiar with the ins and outs of the software juggling game. It’s common for computers to house multiple business-related software applications: one for estimating, one for billing, and so on. And as the software applications multiply, so do companies’ office and eld routines. Would you even want to count how many times in a given day you open a program and then copy and paste some of its contents into another program?
To correct the situation, many companies have invested an exorbitant amount of money and resources in a multifunctional enterprise resource planning (ERP) system offered by one vendor (single source).
Risky. Here's why.
Purchasing software packages designed to “do it all” from one vendor may lack customization and add-on options, and in the end, may not be enough to provide a perfect t for each department’s or industry’s specific needs. Many business owners end up spending even more money to purchase additional software to address unmet needs. If that’s not frustrating enough, new applications aren’t always built to connect well with the system you already have in place.
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