Is the iron triangle ironic?



The triangle of basic business complexity based on ScopeTime and Quality has been manipulated in many ways to accommodate an ironic "Fixed Scope & Fixed Cost" paradigm in software solutions industry.


On one hand, business leaders directly correlate revenue projections to software features. Hence delivering on time with committed scope and quality will provide better budget projections to the stakeholders. However, on the contrary, it is considered as an industrial norm that software is delivered late, has lower quality (than anticipated) and curtailed scope.





Inherent mistrust between business and software solutions department is the fundamental of current organizational realm.


Having been involved in optimizing numerous organizations, i’ve been associated with large fortune 300s (ranging from 6 to 300), there is no doubt that business departments do not trust the development organizations. Denial, blame, justification and general dysfunction in such organizations is considered as a norm.


The irony behind this chicken and egg situation is that without visionary leadership, the trust can never be established. In the current economic crisis, once the business stakeholders can count on the commitments, the status quo demands that they start doubting the current forecasts. This is based on the basic assumption that "how could you if you are delivering on time?". This implicitly results in over-commitment and end-user expectations are raised accordingly.

 The basic measure of success is based on some of the following attributes:
  • Motivation
  • Innovation
  • Predictability
  • Productivity
  • ....


Not only is this unbalanced state - a significant challenge for most organizations, but available methods for improving predictability and productivity features over time are not readily available to most technology leaders. Morphing development organizations can accurately predict their delivery in time, scope, and total quality while continuously finding ways to improve their productivity.


Some basic recommendations that have been nearly fruitful to mitigate the situation include:
  • Bringing the business and solutions organization closer by face-to-face communication,
  • Having regular life feedback sessions with the development team,
  • Sharing simple metrics in addition to live demos,
  • Running continuous improvement (retrospectives) as a combined group.
  • ....

Can we have Time, Cost and Quality fixed and still maintain good business vs solutions delivery relationship? Some questions are better left to luck while hoping for the best...

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Thank you very much for the insights and suggestions.

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