3 min read

Mastering the Project Management Triangle: On Time, On Budget, and On Value


No-code can help your team balance the constraints of cost, time, and value to deliver successful large-scale IT projects. 

If you’ve ever worked on a large-scale project, you may have heard of the dreaded “Project Management Triangle”—sometimes known as the “Pick Two” triangle. Each point of the triangle reflects one of the key constraints associated with any project: cost, time, and value. Will my project come in under budget? Is my project going to be delivered within my timeline so I can get the product to market as planned? Does my project accomplish what we set out to do? 

Conventional wisdom holds that because each of the points of the triangle is dependent on the others, it becomes difficult to strike the perfect balance between all three. For example, a McKinsey study on large IT projects (with initial budgets of $15 million and over) found that the longer a project is scheduled to take, the higher chance there is that it will run over time and budget. Here’s how no-code can help your team achieve a perfect project management triangle. 

The “Pick Two” Triangle Theory

The “Pick Two” triangle theory asserts that all projects operate within the three main boundaries of cost, time, and value. Changing one side of the triangle will invariably affect the others, making it very challenging to simultaneously accomplish all three project goals. 

Even if you’ve never heard of the project management triangle, you’ve probably heard an engineer express a similar sentiment—“This project can be good, fast, or cheap. Pick two.” In the worst cases, large-scale IT projects fail to even pick one. When it comes to software in particular, the average large-scale project comes in 66% over budget, 33% past the scheduled deadline, and 17% short on promised benefits. 

It’s possible for project managers to meet all three goals, but code makes it much harder than necessary. 

It’s possible for project managers to meet all three goals, but code makes it much harder than necessary. Consider an analogy in which a family wants to build a house. In this case, standard construction methods represent traditional application development with code. If the family wants to build a 5,000 sq. ft. house in two months on a $40,000 budget, your project triangle would fall apart. With traditional construction methods (AKA code!), two months and $40,000 simply isn’t enough time or money to build a house that large. 

To stabilize this triangle and bring all three sides into harmony, the project management triangle dictates that you would have to add money to your budget, decrease the size of your house, or increase your timeline. But what if there was a fourth factor—a different way to build? To extend the analogy, let’s say you’re able to utilize a modular building method (not unlike no-code) that allows you to hit the same requirements faster and for less money. At Unqork, we want to push back against the notion that you can’t get everything you want out of an IT project. Instead of compromising on value, no-code can help you shrink your budgets and timelines. 

How No-Code Shrinks the Triangle

To master the project management triangle, you don’t have to eliminate your project constraints altogether—you only have to bring them into alignment. Here’s how no-code makes it significantly easier to meet key constraints and minimize pressure on all sides.

  • Cost: When large-scale IT projects go over budget, code is the most likely culprit. To build an application using code, you have to hire specialized engineers experienced in various programming languages. Unfortunately, skilled developers are expensive, and outsourcing work can drive costs up even more. By eliminating code, no-code allows teams to build apps in-house while avoiding legacy maintenance and technical debt.

  • Time: Building an enterprise application with code can easily take upwards of a year. With no-code, your app could be ready to launch in a matter of weeks. The Unqork platform uses a component-based architecture and pre-built workflows to dramatically speed up the development process—without sacrificing security or complexity.

  • Value: Unqork features a robust template library full of sophisticated use-cases and components that are sure to meet your project’s needs. In many cases, all you’ll need to do is a little front-end customization before you start delivering value to your customers.

Deliver Better Projects with Unqork

No matter what your specific goals are, Unqork makes it much easier to bring all the sides of your triangle into alignment. Once you eliminate code, you give yourself the freedom to build faster, spend smarter, and create more business value. In doing so, Unqork doesn’t just allow you to achieve a harmonized project management triangle—it allows you to look beyond a single project and focus on unlocking your competitive advantage.

Want to learn more about how no-code can help you prevent project failure? Schedule a personalized demonstration with one of our in-house experts, and sign up for the Unqork newsletter to receive no-code news in your inbox.

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