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The 3 project management goals we all know - How to wreck them and SUCCEED

Sometimes, I find myself getting excited by any opportunity to turn scope, schedule and budget objectives on their head. In the world of project management, scope + schedule + budget are our trinity of goals, our guiding beacons - but what if they are leading us down a sub-optimal and somewhat average path?

Take 'scope' for instance. It's our blueprint, our boundary, and typically non-negotiable. We’re taught to diligently work to stay within those boundaries, but what if you stumble upon customer need that suggests a game-changing enhancement. The trade-off? A scope creep. Would you stick to the plan or seize the opportunity to transform your deliverable from ordinary to extraordinary? We chose the latter plot twist and reaped immense results and long-lasting appreciation.

Now, let's talk about 'schedule'. The clock ticks, deadlines loom, and we race against time. But imagine rushing to deliver a product, only to discover an important stakeholder concern wasn’t addressed. Was it better to push things out and promise to rectify? We decided to hit the brakes, release an interim version, made extra effort to address the concern with the stakeholder, and guess what? The trust we built from demonstrating that extra care and understanding of their anxieties lasted much longer than the days lost from the schedule.

Lastly, 'budget'. The custodian of resources, oftentimes the “natural” determinant of feasibility. Budgets can look like a zero-sum game for one project, but things look different if we consider benefits for multiple projects. Spending more on one activity to improve client outcomes can look like a direct cost impact, but it forces you to ask hard questions about what you are willing to give up for less important, less strategic things.

In this complex narrative of project management, our traditional goals aren't infallible commandments. Sometimes, going against the grain and reinterpreting them creatively can breed innovation, adaptability and ultimately business success.

So at your next project management precipice, try adding some nuance to our own rules, colour outside the lines, and dare to mess things up a little. You may find it possible to unlock more satisfying results at the edge.

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