Why the Project Trilemma Doesn’t Apply to Application Development

The project trilemma says that you can pick two options out of cost, time or quality, but not all three. In application development however, no such trade-off exists. Only quality matters.

Triangle with the word ‘quality’ shown at each corner

Why can’t application development be optimised in terms of cost or time?

Because cutting corners is a self-defeating strategy.

That test that you’re skipping saves you one hour now, but will cost you five hours of troubleshooting later.

That “minimum viable product” with its incomplete feature set and unpolished user experience helps you launch early, but at the expense of driving your first-hour customers away.

Source code must be carefully modeled, written and structured or developers can’t work with it effectively.

Therefore high quality is how you achieve low cost and short time-to-market.

When it comes to application development, don’t cut corners unless you’re prepared to throw everything away and start anew later.

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