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The Project Management Triangle - What you need to know

business project management self-publishing

In the world of project management there is a special rule called the Project Management Triangle. As a project management specialist with the government, every project was launched discussing this important rule.

As the name implies there are three prongs on this triangle: Time, Cost, Quality (or Fast, Cheap, Good). But here's the rule, you only get to pick two of the three, you can not have all three.

The Project Management Triangle

I'm often approached by people new to publishing and writing who do not understand this important paradigm. It's very important that, as the project manager of your self-publishing project, you understand this rule. It will help you handle all the logistics and keep your project on track. Here's how it works.

When planning your project you need to make some choices and prioritize two of the three aspects of your project.

If you want your project to be top quality (good) and completed quickly (fast), you will need to spend the money on hiring the best people and purchasing the best tools. Many contractors will prioritize a project, but there will be rush fees. You need to budget for those.

If you want your project to be fast and cheap, then you are going to sacrifice quality. I see this all the time in self-publishing and have been guilty of it myself in my early days. In my rush to get certain pieces published (usually due to some arbitrary and crazy deadline I set for myself) I sacrificed quality and that's not what my readers deserve. If they are going to spend their money and time on my products, the least I can do is ensure it is a quality and worthwhile project. In the end, it cost me a lot more money and time going back to repair the project, than if I just just focused on quality as one of my main pillars from the beginning.

You can produce a quality product and keep costs down, but don't expect it to be completed quickly. By working for deals, doing skills swaps, you will be the low priority on a skilled contractors list. They need to make a living too, and those projects that are paying the bills will get first dibs on their time. But if you give them the time to complete your projects in their spare moments, you can still get a quality project. Just make sure you leave a lot of time in your plans.

The Project Triangle:

Produce your book quickly and to a high standard, but it will not be cheap.

Produce your book quickly and cheaply, but it will not be high quality.

Produce a book of high quality and cheaply, but it will take a long time.

When planning your self-publishing project, think about the Project Management Triangle and make a conscience choice of which two pieces of the triangle are guiding your project. This will help you keep your expectations in line and your project on track so you can get that book published!

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