If you are in business, you have probably noticed that most projects totally fail to meet their desired outcome. Successful project management is a huge part of moving a company from a funny-cool-broke startup phase to a real high-growth business – let’s call it “scale up”. My company, Creamfinance, a high-tech online lender, grew from 20 to 200 people in 7 countries worldwide with €50M funding raised, all in 24 months. And during this growth, we used one fundamental project management rule – Project Management Triangle!

It is dead simple – every project (anything that involves more than one person over some period of time) fundamentally depends on three parameters – quality, cost and speed. And there is only one simple rule – you can only have two of them at the same time, the third one will have to be sacrificed:

– if quality delivered fast is important, then it will cost tons of money

– if quality at low cost is important, then it will take forever

– if something cheap is needed fast, then the quality will be shit

Like I said, this is dead simple and probably everyone who does not live in a cave has heard of this concept. But for some reason, most people in small companies that want to become big, keep living in a dream world – they bootstrap everything (makes sense as budget is normally super tight) and hope for solid quality almost instantly. Often cool startup-ers are obsessed with “hacking” growth – trying to find a way around this triangle. And that is exactly why most startups remain broke startups.

In Creamfinance, we also had and continuously have to “hack” growth and deliver profits (quality) with fewer resources than ideally needed. But what we do is prioritize two out of the three parameters and expect the third to impact us negatively.

To summarize – a good example of this was our new IT platform rollout. We had little budget and needed to get it done very fast, so we knew that the quality will be weak. So we limited the rollout to one market only before moving further and we also knew that we will fix bugs over a period of time and the customer experience of borrowing online from our websites will not be compromised.

[easy-tweet tweet=”#Startups want everything high quality, fast and low price, but u can only have 2 of them” user=”150sec” hashtags=”CEEmakers” url=”http://goo.gl/OLqHlA”]

My takeaway is to simply be very conscious of this elementary concept when planning projects and complex tasks. This awareness will potentially save some important cash, or nerves.