Impossible Triangle: Functionality-Time-Cost

Recent economic conditions and pressure has made many businesses to re-think their priorities. In software development world it comes down to cost, time and functionality.

In ideal world all projects would have realistic deadlines, enough resources to do the entire features listed in the functionality requirement. However in the real world this is almost never happened. The real world demand compromises and faced with constant changes.

Diagram above illustrates “The Impossible Triangle” showing the relationship between Functionality, Cost and Time. As a software company we’re constantly under pressure to deliver project on time on-budget and fit for purpose but in reality it is nearly impossible to fix all three aspects in a project.

For illustration, it is possible to work on a fix amount of cost and fixed number of features & functionality  (assuming they are clearly defined) but time to complete the project will have to become variable. In many cases with the software development we don’t know the problem until we’re halfway down with the coding work.

On the other hand, it is possible to fix cost and having an exact date on project delivery but there will be some functionality trade-off.

In many cases, throwing additional resources in the mid-project is not as straightforward throwing more bricklayers to build a wall as illustrated by Dilbert:

In my opinion the role of Project Management in the software project are undervalued. A good software Project Manager is incredibly rare. It is disheartening to know that according to research by Dr John McManus, only one in eight IT projects can be considered as truly successful (1998-2005).

On the bright side, In the recent years we’ve seen the rise of Prototyping  and implementation of Agile methodologies, which in Claromentis we’re proudly adopting and continue to learn from mistakes and “Keep Moving Forward”.

Note: “Keep Moving Forward” is a tagline borrowed from Disney Pixars Movie – Meet the Robinsons. There is an interesting scene from the movie when the Robinsons family rejoices and celebrated “failures” more than “success”.

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