Good Fast Cheap

Good Fast Cheap is a project management principle known as the Project Management Triangle or Iron Triangle. The idea behind this principle is that you can only achieve two of the three factors: fast, good, and cheap. For example, if you want something done fast and cheap, then the quality of the product or service might suffer. On the other hand, if you want something done well and fast, then it might end up being expensive. Lastly, if you want something done well and cheap, then it might take a longer time to complete. This principle applies to almost anything in life, from business projects to personal goals. It's essential to understand the limitations of the project and manage your expectations accordingly. For instance, if you want a high-quality product and need it fast, then it's likely that the cost will be higher. Overall, it's important to balance the expectations of these three factors to ensure a successful project outcome.

Are you having hard time deciding? Follow these actionable advices and you can effectively manage your projects within the constraints of the Project Management Triangle and achieve your goals.

  1. Define your priorities: Identify which of the three factors is most important to your project. Is it speed, quality, or cost? This will help you make informed decisions when challenges arise.
  2. Establish realistic goals: Set achievable goals for each of the three factors. For example, if speed is a top priority, set a realistic timeline for the project completion. If cost is a top priority, determine a realistic budget.
  3. Communicate clearly: Communicate with all stakeholders about the project goals, timelines, and priorities. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands what to expect.
  4. Monitor progress: Keep track of the project's progress and measure it against the goals you established. This will allow you to identify any potential issues early and take corrective action.
  5. Be flexible: Be open to changes and adjustments along the way. Sometimes unexpected issues or opportunities arise that may impact one or more of the three factors. Be prepared to adjust your priorities accordingly.
  6. Manage expectations: Set realistic expectations with stakeholders about what can be achieved within the project's constraints. This will help manage expectations and prevent disappointments.
  7. Make trade-offs: When faced with trade-offs between the three factors, make informed decisions based on your priorities and goals. Remember that you can only optimize two of the three factors, so be prepared to make compromises.

Examples from other aspects of life

The Iron Triangle concept of balancing constraints of Good, fast, and cheap is applicable beyond project management and can be seen in various aspects of life. Here are few examples.


  • Good: High-quality, tasty, and nutritious food
  • Fast: Convenient and quick to prepare or obtain
  • Cheap: Affordable and within budget

Fast-food chains like McDonald's or Taco Bell offer fast and cheap food, but it may not necessarily be considered "good" in terms of nutrition or taste. A meal delivery service like Blue Apron or HelloFresh may be considered good in terms of quality and nutrition, but may not be as fast or cheap as eating fast food.


  • Good: Safe, reliable, and comfortable transportation
  • Fast: Quick travel time to destination
  • Cheap: Affordable transportation options

A private car may be good in terms of comfort and reliability, but may not be as fast or cheap as taking public transportation. Public transportation like buses or trains may be cheap and fast, but may not be as good in terms of comfort or reliability.


  • Good: High-quality, innovative, and reliable technology
  • Fast: Quick and responsive technology
  • Cheap: Affordable and within budget technology

Apple products like iPhones or MacBooks are considered good in terms of quality and innovation, but may not be as cheap as other technology options. Budget-friendly technology like Chromebooks or smartphones from less popular brands may be considered cheap and fast, but may not be as good in terms of quality or innovation.


  • Good: High-quality, stylish, and comfortable clothing
  • Fast: Quick and easy to obtain or purchase
  • Cheap: Affordable and within budget clothing

Fast fashion brands like H&M or Forever 21 offer fast and cheap clothing options, but may not be considered good in terms of quality or sustainability. Luxury fashion brands like Chanel or Gucci offer good quality and stylish clothing, but may not be as fast or cheap as fast fashion brands. These are just a few examples of how the Iron Triangle concept can be applied beyond project management.