The Iron Quadrilateral

You may well be familiar with the Iron Triangle of project delivery: time, quality, and cost are closely interlinked and trade off against each other. Any improvement on one of those aspects will put downward pressure on the other two.

“Faster, better, cheaper: you can only pick two” is the pithy version.

And that’s if it’s done well. You can be slow, worse, and expensive.

I like to break it down further to an Iron Quadrilateral of time, quality, scope, and cost. Quality and scope can trade off directly: do less but better, or more but worse. And they both trade off against the others.

Here, for the first time, is a quick sketch of it!

Doug Clow's Iron Quadrilateral. A quadrilateral with arrows between all four corners. The corners are labelled COST (less or more), SCOPE (do more or do less), TIME (faster or slower), and QUALITY (better or worse)
The Iron Quadrilateral
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MBA Weeks 3 & 4: Corporate Governance

This is part of my Eccentric MBA,  a self-paced self-taught online programme of study.

You can tell it’s self-paced, because I’m doing two weeks in one here because of other commitments. It’s important to get back on the horse rather than letting it gallop away. This topic is corporate governance, and I’m focusing as before on large listed companies in the UK.

When your boardroom is like your board: bright, airy, up in the clouds, often vacant, and mostly white. In fairness, the directors I know are all extremely capable. But they are all white.
Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash
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