Fix Time and Budget, Flex Scope

Launch on time and on budget

Here's an easy way to launch on time and on budget: keep them fixed. Never throw more time or money at a problem, just scale back the scope.

There's a myth that goes like this: we can launch on time, on budget, and on scope. It almost never happens and when it does quality often suffers.

If you can't fit everything in within the time and budget allotted then don't expand the time and budget. Instead, pull back the scope. There's always time to add stuff later — later is eternal, now is fleeting.

Launching something great that's a little smaller in scope than planned is better than launching something mediocre and full of holes because you had to hit some magical time, budget, and scope window. Leave the magic to Houdini. You've got a real business to run and a real product to deliver.

Here are the benefits of fixing time and budget, and keeping scope flexible:

Our recommendation: Scope down. It's better to make half a product than a half-assed product (more on this later).

One, two, three...

How does a project get to be a year behind schedule? One day at a time.

—Fred Brooks, software engineer and computer scientist