Project Management

Leading Beyond the Iron Triangle

PMI Silver Spring Chapter

Byron has over 31 years of experience in IT project and program management. He is a retired Air Force Major with an MBA, PgMP, PMP, CISSP, ITIL-F and CompTIA Project+. He is the Senior Director of IT for Intrepid Solutions and the author of IT Project Management: A Geek's Guide to Leadership (Best Practices and Advances in Program Management).

I thought we were successful, but I was wrong. We delivered results on time, within budget and according to the contract specifications: the old "iron triangle." But, as it turned out, the customer wasn’t happy. Consider this vignette, which is based on my experience:

Donald was an experienced IT project manager based in Baltimore, leading delivery of a portal solution for a government customer. The customer was in Philadelphia, the project’s developer was in Phoenix, the database designer was in Boston, the user interface designer was in Tampa and the project coordinator, Ann, was in Arlington, Virginia. In addition to this important project, Donald was managing multiple projects for various customers. Donald really relied on Ann to keep the project moving forward. In addition to assisting with project management, Ann also performed testing and training duties.

Donald spent a significant amount of time coordinating this virtual team. They did not know each other personally, and it seemed that they did not trust each other. There was no budget to bring everyone together for team building. Many of the team members had some type of conflict with Ann, but nothing that Donald felt would impede progress on the project. However, Donald’s coordination amongst his team members—his internal stakeholders—at times strained his conflict …

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