Good Fast Cheap… Pick Two Please

Whenever a project is commissioned, there are three options that all clients and the team being commissioned must face. Those three options are Good, Fast and Cheap, and for any project, clients are (indirectly) guided to choose any two. For the fancy-dancy educated, it’s called the Project Management Triangle. For us non-educated folk, it’s often called the “Good Fast Cheap” triangle.

Now first we need to get some definitions out of the way. I’m a creative so I’ll explain things in a creative’s point of view but this can actually be applied to any project within any career field.

  • Fast is the time to complete a project from first contact to delivery,
  • Good is the quality of the final deliverable, and
  • Cheap is the total costs involved with completing a client project.

Although clients and creative teams might not like it, the fact remains that these three aspects of a project (good fast cheap) are closely tied into each other, and that one side must suffer in order to maximize the other two. It just isn’t possible to optimize all three at the same time (if you figure it out though, let me know in the comments below)

So that leaves only three options:

  • Create something quick and with high standards, but plan to break out the checkbook.
  • Create something quick and inexpensively, but it will not be of the best possible quality.
  • Create something of the best quality and inexpensively, but don’t expect it tomorrow, or the next day… or anytime soon for that matter.

In other words…

Good + Fast = Expensive

Pick good and fast and your creative team will miss sleep, postpone lower-paying projects (see option #2… hint, hint), place “Booked until Further Notice” on their calendar, and basically work their magical, creative fingers to the bone to get your job done. Just remember though, those same bony fingers will be expecting a huge check when it’s all over.

Good + Cheap = Slow

Pick good and cheap and your creative team will do an awesome job for a discounted price, but understand that you’ll be the one that option #1 is referring to above when it’s time to postpone lower-paying projects.

Fast + Cheap = Crappy

Pick fast and cheap and expect a barely passable job with on time delivery. This is the option where the saying “you get what you pay for” applies. Think of it this way – it’s impossible to eat Filet Mignon if you only want to pay bologna prices.