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Project Management: Managing the Triple Constraint

By Mike Turzanski, PMP, LEED AP O+M, Senior Vice President, Engineering Operations

graphic_v4Property management professionals require multiple skills to manage the lifecycle of an asset. The major components of any organization are operations and projects. Operations are continuous and repetitive activities, such as accounting and maintenance. On the other hand, projects have a beginning and an end. They are temporary endeavors to create a unique product or service. As a result, project management is the application of knowledge and techniques to project activities in order to meet project requirements.

The operating team may decide to manage projects themselves, engage the company’s internal project management group, or contact a consulting firm that specializes in project management. If the operating team decides to manage within its group, it needs to have fundamental understanding of integrated project management processes, project management process groups, and the knowledge area.

The key knowledge areas are scope, cost, and time. These are commonly known as the project’s triple constraint. Additionally, I include quality as an extension to the triple constraint because quality is a large factor to a project’s success and is often compromised with scope creep, a decrease in budget, or an increase in schedule demand.

These three core elements of a project, with the addition of quality, are known to work in combination with one another. If one of these elements is impacted, then the remaining variables will be reduced, increased, or extended in some way. When fully understood by a project manager, balancing these elements allows for the successful planning and execution of a project.

These factors can be measured using the triple constraint formula: cost * schedule = quality. Understanding the client and other stakeholder objectives allows for effective balancing of the triple constraint. A good project manager understands the clients’ concerns and priorities, and stakeholder education is paramount to a successful project. Time and money also need to be considered if the project is to be completed with a certain level of quality.

The triple constraint and adjustment of any of its elements allows for better risk mitigation and planning with the ultimate goal of being on scope, on time, and within budget.


Turzanski, Mike_grey background croppedMichael Turzanski serves as Senior Vice President, Engineering Operations for Cushman & Wakefield. In this role, he oversees engineering operations for the West Region, overseeing a 177 million square foot portfolio. Mike advises the West Region on best practices regarding business development; operations and maintenance of office, industrial, retail, and data center properties; training; vendor management; recruitment of top talent; and energy management and sustainability.

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