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Triple Constraint Model of Project Management


Project Planning and Control: Project Planning and Control has widely been used as a tool to calculate and analyze the performance of a project is now perceived as an outline by the project managers to appraise and correct the factors like time and cost, Project management triangle (Iron Triangle), and the triple constraints of cost. With the aid of Project planning and control the strategies and the decisions regarding the planning, framing and supporting providing a better hold on the project while execution phase. The basic principle or ideology of this that the cost is an operative function in both the area of scope and time. On the other hand, the manipulation and deception in these factors may risk the path of achievement of the project in progress even before the implementation phase of the program. If taken an instance, Merrow (2012) a well-known researcher had stated that the majority of the projects related to gas and oil (estimated to be 64%) had been unsuccessful in attaining their target of previously determined cost and the deadline which has led some irregularities and problems in the production attainment process for the initial period of 2 years. When in a project more cost is incurred than the estimated amount, the time lag for completing the program also extends. The company like Edinburgh Trans in Scotland is a very good example of this context (Railnews 2012).

  • Provide a critical note on the powers and restrictions regarding triple constraint model from an approach of regulator viewpoint.
  • For handling anyone constraint in the Iron Triangle, provide any two planning and control methods. Proficiently make the use and reference of your work experience while discussing the control method.
  • Discuss the methods of control used in your organization and evaluate it by providing the potential risks and weaknesses prevailing in it.


1.Introduction: The tool of Project Management Triangle that are like wisely to be termed as the Iron triangle has widely became used as a framework by the project managers all over the world to augment the process of management and regulate the design and processes of the concerned business organization [1]. The Iron Triangle is also widely denoted by the term Triple constraint. The project management triangle was being started to use as a popular tool in business organizations from the late 1950s. Roughly saying it is the discipline that delivers various techniques to the team in command of a project by which it would be much easier to streamline the business processes to attain the target.

1.1 Review: As mentioned above the Triple constraint or the Project management triangle is already being used as a popular and efficient constructing unit in planning of the assignment by the administrators supervise and regulate the procedures for a sustainable and long-lasting result [2].

Triple Constraint Model

Figure 1: Triple Constraint Model
Source: [3]

As per the overhead provided diagram demonstrates the graphical representation of the Project Management Triangle. As looking at the figure 1 provided, it could be noticed that the Triple constraints of three factors, which are Scope, Time and Cost. These factors follow the relationship as given below.
Scope = Cost x Time.

In this relation, the term Scope refers to the attributes and the complexities of the product. Cost represents the financial and physical aspects, where the Time is the period taken to complete the project. In simple words, the term Scope represents the performance whereas the terms Time and Cost focus on the perfect output of the concerned assignment which is a very decisive ineffective execution.

1.1.1 Examining the Triple Constraint Model

Triple Constraint Model



• Degree of execution in the concerned assignment

• Approximation of the financial statement required in the project

•   Approximation of appropriate schedule in the project.

•   Appropriate valuation of the quality required in the project.


Just focus on including the tactical aspects

Success Criteria

Very effective in maintaining the balance between the tools for implementing appropriates and project constraints.

Critical Success factors

Considering only small and sharp performance goals to attain very customized output in the specified time limit and cost.


•   Execution of better time handling strategies.

•   Effective scrutiny for quality

•   Calculating and sustaining the scope

•   Better and minimized handling of revenue and expenditures.

•   Timely and effective execution of project phases.

Table 1: Assessment of the Triple Constraint.
Source: [4]

2. Power and weakness related to Triple constraint model in a regulated viewpoint.

2.1 Control: Project Outputs related to Business Outcome
As per the remarks of Humid et al. (2012), The evaluation of the powers and weakness of the triple constraint model could be conducted efficiently at the instance when the comparison is conducted on the performance of a project with the targeted goal of performance in the processes of business in the concerned institute. He went on further by elucidating that the factors like payback analysis, NPV, Roi, etc. are the main results of the business processes. By conducting a comparison between the total advantage involved in the proper progress of the business process with that of the results obtained by implementing the project triangle model.

project triangle model

Fig 3: Comparison of Project output wit that of Business Output
Source: [3]

2.2 Strengths
2.2.1 Measure of Project Performance: If speaking in harmony with the arguments of Bond (2015), for devising a good and efficient planning strategy to create impact and getting control over the situation in the stage of the implementation, the tool of project management triangle proves to be very efficient. Because of project planning and regulated benefits, this tool is considered to be a very reliant instrument in calculating the project performance globally in a provided framework. [5]

2.2.2 Estimation of project budget: As per the belief of Abedi et al (2011), in the context of the business, the project management deals with the appropriate estimation f the required budget and cost of the product by evaluating and identifying various cost factors and variables in relation to the blueprint [6]. Although the Triple Constraint consists of a major factor which is cost. Project managers could utilize this method to recognize and analyze the estimated budget in the concerned project.

2.2.3 Estimation of project schedule: By referring to the facts represented by renowned researcher Ambituuni (2001), the budgeting and prediction of the project schedule is a very significant facet in completing the project in a prescribed deadline [7]. Time is a very significant factor in the Triple Constraint, the managers of the project could use it to prepare an estimated period and the schedule for completing each phase of the project.

2.2.4 Estimation of project quality: As per the thoughts put forward by Babbie (2010), the facet of quality doesn’t come under the persuade of Triple Constraint Model though a project should always deliver the quality after its execution [8]. Many of the researchers and the business specialist argues the belief that to increase the attributes of the project and its output the cost of the project should be increased further. It is been made more evident by the studies the inference that expenditure of less money may risk the goal of the project. Since the quality of the project is a very decisive and significant matter in the project cost performs a very significant part in the success of the assignment.

2.3 Limitation
2.3.1 Strategic Dimension: As per the views of Catanio et al (2013), it is the characteristics of the strategies planned by the management which commits a very significant part in the success of the project. Majority of the companies in the market phase a lot of obstructions in the phase of execution because of the below-par strategic plan made in the framework. As per the arguments made by Catanio, the Triple Constraints will aid the company to achieve tactical success of the concerned project, which also have the weakness in delivering the strategic factors like relevance, sustainability of the project and impact of the deliverables from the project [9].

2.3.2 Case Study: Wembley Stadium: Wembley is a very attractive and magnificent stadium built by the Multiplex group which is an Australian firm in the year 2007 was found to be an unsuccessful event in 2002 because of the incompetence and ineffectiveness on behalf of its managers. Even though the management of the company had been successful in recognizing the degree of the quality in the project and potential hidden risk prevailing in the business process using the tool of project management triangle, the company was not able to reason with the outcomes regarding the project quality and the risks in various dimensions [10]. Even because of these complexities and the hindrances in the process the company was successful in providing the targeted performance before the deadline but the quality was that much low that it failed to fulfill the requirements of the customers.

As per the arguments made by Flyvbjerg et al in his work Why Your IT Project May Be Riskier Than You Think In the year 2011, the concept and techniques of Iron triangle are obsolete and outdated in the present world, although the usability could not be denied away entirely or be outcasted as a waste model. The authors of the article recommended further not to ignore the iron triangle entirely, as an alternative some modifications should be made in the tool by adding some more factors like customer satisfaction along with the existing factors in the tool [11].

Project Management Diamond

Fig 4: Project Management Diamond
Source: [12]

3. 2 Planning and Control Approaches to Cope with the Cost Constraint of The Iron Triangle
In a project, the cost has the most significant role in the Triple Constraint Model which puts also a strong influence on the constraints like the anticipated budget of the project, it's scheming and regulation methods. The factors which may be needed to control the fluctuation in the cost are enlisted below.

3.1 Planning Methods
3.1.1 Structure of Cost Break Down: The features and characteristics of the Cost Break Down Structure show a great resemblance with those of Work Break Down Structure. As we know that the motive of the Work Break Down Structure in a project which segregates the whole processes in a project into relevant sub-tasks in a specific estimated deadline [11]. Similarly, CBS tool provides an estimate of the cost to be incurred in the project. To handle and execute excellent management and to identify hidden expenditures the tool of CBS operates by disintegrating the whole work in small expenditure targets.

Cost Break Down Structure

Fig 5: Cost Break Down Structure
Source: [11]

If referred to the chart given in fig 5, it should be ascertain that the above-given fact that the cost Break Down Structure will streamline the revenue by disintegrating the whole work into smaller sections about every department such as the payroll expenditures, maintenance, operations and budgeting for each phase of the assignment.

3.1.2 Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB)
It is a specific type of expenditure reduction and accounting technique that provides validation for every expense and proceedings committed in the course of project execution and other phases. In this method the process of costing and budgeting starts from the base of zero which means the expenditure on each phase is commenced as per the prerequisite and the necessity observed [13]). By using this process, the manager of the project could calculate an estimate of the potential expenditures according to the current dynamics and fluctuations in the market.

3.2 Control Methods: 3.2.1 Earned Value (EV): As a tactic to maintain the course of project on the trajectory of success, managers of the concerned institutes use the Earned value method in operating environment by regulating the tasks, project plan, and the value of the actual work. As per the observations of the Colin et al (2014), the instrument of Earned Value will aid the authority of the project in making a comparison between the level of completed work or the amount of the cost paid with respect to the cost estimated or the extent of the work which was supposed to be finished before the set deadline [14].

3.2.2 S-Curve: The S Curve denotes the graph of the business life cycle concerning the Time and Growth of the project by considering the present environment of the business and the collective expenditure commenced. As denoted by its name the curve represents the English alphabet “S”. By the means of the S curve managers could follow the advancement in the project compared to the whole cost that occurred till.

business life cycle

Fig 8: S Curve
Source: [15]

If looked at Fig 8 provided, it could be observed very clearly that the graph of S Curve could be classified into 3 periods which are the infancy, the expansion, and the maturity. These classifications could be used by the officials to evaluate the advancement or progress in project processes as compared to the whole expenditure incurred in achieving the current progress.

4. Weakness and Strengths regarding the Methods of Control
4.1 Cost Planning Methods
4.1.1 Cost Breakdown Structure Strengths: By the means of the Cost Break Down Structure, the expenditure and the processes of the whole project could be disintegrated into several small phases which involves the smaller objectives of various departments. This approach helps to actually focus on comparatively smaller goals and hence results in the increased efficiency of the plan. Weakness: The prevailing and evident flaw in the process of cost planning method is that it is very hard to estimate the instance where the breakdown process of the work and costing should bring to an end. Apart from this the values obtained after the cost breakdown process is very tough to be recognized and ponder upon [16] Solution: To solve and gate away from the weakness of the cost break down structure, the Chief Executive Officer should go through the requirements of the business and the standards required while executing the concerned project. By adopting this methodology, the correct estimate of CBS could be calculated which would be implemented for sustainability.

4.1.2 Zero Based Budgeting Strengths

  • Stipulates a proficient distribution of the resources.
  • Empower the manager of the project in recognizing various ways to reduce the expenditure.
  • Aids in excluding the inept and bungling activities prevailing in the business process of the company. Weakness

  • Since this process is not very easy and hard to follow, it consumes a lot of time.
  • As said in the previous point, the process of this approach is very complex. Thus the employees of the company should be trained about its methodology and modus operandi [17]. Solution: As mentioned in the weakness section the Zero-Based Budgeting is a very complicated and difficult procedure which is laborious to carry out in practical situations. This process should b used only in some selective phases and situations rather than implying on the whole budget of the mission.

4.2 Cost Control Methods
4.2.1 Earned Value Strength: The Earned value under the constraints of Cost Control Method aids the manager of the company in conducting analysis and comparison between the authentic expenditure to the approximate revenue required to finish the given project within the deadline. This approach will assist the authorities and the employees in the process of estimating the schedule performance index, schedule variance, cost performance index, etc. Weakness: The process of Earned value is not deemed o be efficient in delivering quality to the project which may lead to the situations like even if there is a presence of the high earned value, the project lacks the required or the targeted quality [18]. Solution: In order to bring harmonization and proficiency a suitable software should be installed in the company system. The managers should take initiative in including the educated guess earned value along with sustaining the quality of the assigned scheme.

4.2.2 S Curve Strength: The specialists and the higher officials in the company utilize the S Curve to ascertain and publish the course of the undergoing project by taking into account the expenditure accrued till the date. This graphical representation also simplifies the process of estimating profits and losses at the beginning phase. Weakness:

  • If any distortion or discontinuity occurs in the shape of the curve it will be very hard for the managers to evaluate it.
  • The tool is also inept in providing the recommendation where should the company invest or withdraw if the project under construction is implying new tasks for its success [19] Solution: In order to eliminate the before said weaknesses in the process, the managers try to streamline the project schedule along with the cost of the project at whatever time the level of productivity and efficiency comes to a dip.

5. Conclusion
Since the project management triangle is used widely by the researchers and experts in large companies, its study bears a lot of importance and scope. We have examined various facets, point of views and the interpretation of the project management triangle and referring to it we have devised out a cohesive and united model in the management. The case study which is being discussed in this report has been utilized to make it clear that it would be way much effective if the managers of the project would handle the concerned business processes according to the previously set guidelines. The factors of the project management were represented in the form of a triangle in this report. The three constraints discussed in the iron triangle could be controlled by different tools and hence could be streamlined towards the path of success for the company. Therefore it is being recommended that the project managers should maintain the balance between the tools for accurate implementation and the mentioned project constraints for the smooth and better running of the business. Triple constraint model project management assignments are being prepared by our project management assignment help experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable online assignment help service.

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[2] M. Bloch, S. Blumberg and J. Laartz, " Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value," McKinsey & Company, 2012.

[3] D. R. Cooper and P. S. Schindler, "Business Research Methods(11th ed)," McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Limited., 2011.

[4] A. Davies, "Innovation and Project Management," In M. Dogdson, D. Gann, & N. Phillips (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management.New York: Oxford University Press., 2014.

[5] U. E. Bond, "Project management, leadership, and performance: A quantitative study of the relationship between project managers' leadership styles, years of experience and critical success factors (CSFs) to project success," Ann Arbor: Capella University, 2015.

[6] M. Abedi, M. S. Fathi and M. F. Mohammad, "Effects of Construction Delays on Construction Project Objectives," The First Iranian Students Scientific Conference in Malaysia.Malaysia: UPM., 2011.

[7] A. Ambituuni, "Five Causes of Project Delay and Cost Overrun, and Their Mitigation," 2011.

[8] E. Babbie, "The Practice of Social Research.Belmont CA: Wordworth," Cengage Learning, 2010.

[9] J. T. Catanio, A. G. and T. J, "Project Management Certification and Experience: The Impact on the Triple Constraint," Journal of Advances in Information Technology, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 8-19, 2013.

[10] R. Basu, " Managing quality in projects: An empirical study," International Journal of Project Management, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 178-187, 2014.

[11] B. Flyvbjerg and A. Budzier, "Why Your IT Project May Be Riskier Than You Think," September 2011. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 20 February 2015].

[12] P. Serrador and J. Turner, "The relationship between project success and project efficiency," Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 119, pp. 75-84, 2014.

[13] D. Rigby and B. Bilodeau, "Management tools & trends 2013," Bain & Company, 2013.

[14] J. Colin and M. Vanhoucke, "Setting tolerance limits for statistical project control using earned value management," Omega, vol. 49, pp. 107-122, 2014.

[15] J. Overall and S. Wise, "An S-Curve Model of the Start-Up Life Cycle Through the Lens of Customer Development.," The Journal of Private Equity, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 23-34, 2015.

[16] O. Hui and A. Mohammed, "The Role of Cost Breakdown Structure in Life Cycle Cost Model.," Jurnal Teknologi, vol. 74, no. 2, 2015.

[17] K. Banaian and P. Nelson, "Smart Budgeting for an Era of Limits," Transportation, 2014.

[18] W. Lu and L. Lu, "Extreme Programming Project Performance Management by Statistical Earned Value Analysis," Global Journal of Business Research,, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 115-120, 2013.

[19] D. Thomas, "Social Aspects of the Business Cycle (RLE: Business Cycles)," Routledge, 2015.

Beischer, A., and Lofstrom, C. 2012. Factors that cause time delays in hardware development projects; A case study of a product development unit atEricsson AB.Chalmers University of Technology, Technology Management and Economics. Goteborg: Chalmers University of Technology

Talebbeydokhti, A. and Sedghi, M.H., 2015. Studying the effect of project schedule and control role and determining their most important tools on oil projects (the case study of EPD projects in southern oil-rich areas company). Advances in Environmental Biology, pp.158-163.

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