My uni teacher was not wrong about balancing quality, cost, and time in business.

Yesterday at work, I faced a challenge that took me back to a lesson from my university days. A client wanted high-quality work quickly and cheaply. This is a standard business situation and is much like the ‘Triple Constraint’ – a concept about balancing quality, cost, and time.

It’s like a three-legged stool. If one leg is short, the stool wobbles. In business, this means you need to balance these three things.

I remember my teacher once said, “You can’t make a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” It’s a funny way to say some things just take time and can’t be rushed, no matter how many resources you throw at them.

Years ago, I tried to do a project quickly and cheaply, but the quality wasn’t great. Today, I shared this learning with my client. We discussed and found a balance – a little more time for better quality within their budget.

Here’s what we can do in such situations:

  1. Understand the Need: First, know what the client really wants.
  2. Explain the Triple Constraint: Use simple examples to show how quality, cost, and time are linked.
  3. Find a Middle Ground: Propose changes to balance their needs.
  4. Be Honest: If their demands are unrealistic, tell them gently.

In the end, it’s about building trust and lasting relationships in business, not just completing a task.

Have you faced similar challenges in balancing quality, cost, and time?


Rodrigo Branco Matsumoto

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