It occurred to me this morning in thinking about getting into some new technology that there's an important way to think about what kind of projects your organization can afford. I call it the Resource Triangle.
We all know the project triangle. When it comes to building a technological solution, you have to pick two. It can be good and fast, but it won't be cheap, etc. But that only comes after you know exactly what it is you're going to build. What if you don't know? What if you don't have a blueprint?
As a review of resources to be deployed for a project a different dynamic is afoot and the blueprint is key. These three constraints are working in tandem. If you have plenty of time, and money to buy expertise, then you will evolve a system through some trial and error that will likely be the best. If you have money for expertise and a blueprint, you expect to save time. Here's the plan, you did this before, now do it again, andele! If you have plenty of time and you know what it is you want to build, then you can save money on staffing - grow your expertise inhouse without paying a premium for consultants. The trial and error expresses itself in the growing efficiency of your staff.
In my experience, the worst of all worlds is when a blueprint is made, a deadline is set and money is spent at a high rate. There are two reasons. The first is that blueprints are shaky. Youu may know exactly what you need to get done, but you may have missed something in your specification of the blueprint. Your deadline approaches and you will find yourself making sacrifices in quality in order to meet the deadline. Missing the deadline is an exercise in soft dollars, meanwhile you are paying hard dollars to your staff and likely whipping them into a lather. Now you've got a blueprint that's been violated, maybe a cash flow problem, and probably declining morale.