Good, Fast, Cheap – Pick any two

Deciding on a project direction that meets your quality, time and budget requirements can be a complicated and frustrating endeavour. You’ll have to make critical business decisions and also financial decisions along the way. There’s a simple philosophy that I would like to share as a constant reminder and reality of the choices we need to make in order to succeed. That philosophy is Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick any two, however you can’t have all three.

The thinking goes like this

If you want something good and need it fast, it won’t be cheap. In other words if you’re willing to invest the money, you can quickly move forward towards your business success and objectives. On the other hand if you want something good and cheap, it might not meet your time requirements. Meaning, if you or an organization do not have a large budget, you can still achieve good quality work by offsetting your deadline and slowing things down a little. That leaves the one combination that we need to consider cautiously, fast and cheap but not good. It clearly means forgoing quality for the sake of speed and reducing costs, something not recommended.

3 Ways to avoid the unexpected

So how can you control your working budget without cutting any corners while maintaining quality and without missing crucial deadlines? The following three tips are designed to keep your project on budget and on time, while maintaining high-quality results.

1. Too many chefs in the kitchen

Contrary to belief, design by committee is not an optimal way to reach better business solutions, nor will the outcome benefit your budget requirements. Why you may ask? It usually means having to make compromises on the viewpoints of the participants, particularly in the presence of poor leadership or poor technical knowledge, inconsistency, logical flaws, banality, and the lack of a unifying vision. Everything boils down to adding needless complexity to the process, wile achieving poor results. Our recommendation is to practice the power to veto. You can still solicit input from others in your company or team, but limit it to those who are best qualified to provide input and be prepared to have one project leader make final decisions, making a decision when there is internal disagreement.

2. Be Decisive, Commit, Remain Focused

Being uncertain, changing your mind or multiple sets of changes can get expensive quickly. Why? Because, indecisiveness creates the need for change and multiple sets of changes requires more labour and time to complete, in some cases more materials and in turn this delays the completion of your project. Our recommendation is review and mark-up your project by running through it in multiple phases, focusing on a single aspect in each phase. Phase 1: examine content, affirm content, Phase 2: verify grammar and spelling, Phase 3: design alterations or preferences. Once you have thoroughly examined and determined what needs to be done then submit your changes all at once, this avoids the extra expense and time to focus in and out of your project without loosing momentum.

3. Collaboration is a two-way street

It’s important to settle on the project’s main terms at the onset of each project such as timetable, communication methods, project outline, and deliverables. When client’s don’t communicate often enough or according to the project’s timetable. This can prolong the project, sometimes way past the timeframe you set at the beginning and increase the projected costs. We recommend keeping an open dialogue at all times throughout the course of any project so that the project remains on budget, on time and quality control is in check.

The lowdown

These basic things will not only keep your project on budget and on time but provide you with much better business results, a smoother working process without any unexpected surprises.

  3 thoughts on “Good, Fast, Cheap – Pick any two

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