How Project Management Enables Businesses to either Fail or Succeed in the Modern Economy


By Chad E. Tennesen

North Texas, USA


The triple constraint of scope, schedule and cost provides a well-known framework project managers and leaders rely on every day to manage projects. Regrettably, overreliance on this also quietly breeds opportunities to erode business success. When this business erosion occurs and accumulates over time, it deteriorates a company’s competitiveness to a point where the company may die. It is therefore critical for company leadership and project managers alike to understand the pitfalls associated with a strict adherence to the triple constraint, both for managing projects as well as defining project success, and instead supplement those methods with timely and critical actions which are necessary to ensure vibrant and sustained success.

This paper in particular outlines several “traps” which look good on the surface but through which companies can squander resources by relying too heavily on scope, schedule and cost levers to control projects and measure project outcomes. Examples cite public and highly visible company successes and failures including Blockbuster vs. Netflix, MySpace vs. Facebook, etc. to reinforce the cost of missteps. Proposed actions are suggested for when a project manager feels their company and/or project is enabling a trap. Lastly, this paper also makes a case that beyond simply avoiding the pitfalls, project managers must employ improved risk management and prioritization efforts in conjunction with newer project management methodologies to produce efficiency and generate sustained success.


Traditional methods and frameworks of modern project management, such as using the triple constraint of scope, schedule and quality to manage projects, formed the primary teachings of project management in the latter half of the 20th century. While still valid, I believe overreliance on this framework can cause negative consequences such as squandered resources and eventually, weakened competitiveness or even failure.

This paper describes three traps I’ve found which are associated with such an overreliance on the triple constraint framework and offers alternatives using newer methods of Project Management. In addition to avoiding these scenarios I also recommend leveraging risk management and prioritization efforts to further offset and mitigate any potential inefficiency and offer some suggestions on how to do that.


To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 9th annual University of Texas at Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, Texas, USA in August 2015. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.



About the Author


pmwj39-Oct2015-Tennesen-PHOTOChad E. Tennesen

Texas, USA




Chad E. Tennesen, MIM creates business solutions and leads technology teams to produce business results. While the majority of his career and project experience have been focused on developing or supporting software for Fortune 500 companies, he is currently a Board Member for Crider Health Center and Chairman of the Advisory Board for Headway Clubhouse. He helps each of these organizations improve their already strong records of patient outcomes, often by using technology. He has also led or contributed to projects which improved business competitiveness of apparel manufacturing, streamlined operations for a major department store chain, and supported mergers and acquisitions. Chad has a Masters in Information Management (MIM) Degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Managerial Economics from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Mr. Tennesen can be contacted at [email protected]