Communication – it’s all about the triangle by Hayden Bed
There we were desperately behind our target to complete a kilometre of pavement within four weeks. Planning session after planning session we finally agreed that we needed extra resource to give the project a push. Three weeks later as we hit that deadline, on a frosty dawn morning, we celebrated at our toolbox talk by toasting our energy drinks “to a quality job!” But then… the commercial team uttered those three common words… “You’re over budget!”
Contracting can be the most rewarding and frustrating career all in a one day. The complexity of completing a project means that no two projects are ever the same. Each day brings a fresh challenge which will require you to draw on your experience and motivation to succeed. One way to visually simplify this complexity is to use the time-cost-quality triangle (or scope triangle). The three points of the triangle can be quickly explained as Time being the available time to deliver the project; Cost represents the amount of money and resources available; Quality represents the outcomes that the project must achieve to be a success (safety, workmanship, satisfaction etc); and the area of the triangle is the project Scope. If you improve on one of the points, say on time as we did above, then the cost and or quality will worsen to keep the area (scope) in equilibrium.
While the scope triangle illustrates that time, cost and quality are firmly dependant on each other. Have you ever noticed that we contractors, consultants, and clients alike tend to criticise just one point in isolation of the others, “you’re too slow”, “you cost to much”, “you cut corners”? Likewise, within our organisations we have even set up independent business units such as the ‘quality team’, ‘commercial team’ and ‘safety team’. Now hear me out, having specialist teams and independent indicators is a good thing. They each support the project to be successful. But what is not good, is just focusing on one point in isolation. For if a restaurant focused only on time, they would just serve you frozen peas. If a car manufacturer focused only on cost, you might find yourself driving a sardine tin. At the end of the day, the complexity of a project requires us to work and communicate as a cohesive team. In doing so we will share in the delivery of an excellent project.
By Hayden Bed,
Founder On The Grid