The Iron Triangle Is Dead

Illusions of singular org culture, intervention, and the “right way”

John Cutler
Jan 31, 2016 · 1 min read

There is something very calming about doodling in a notebook. For me, Saturday mornings is about doodles and coffee.

The traditional Iron Triangle has three nodes: Scope, Resources, and Schedule. When you talk to executives they’ll describe their central challenges as Growth, or Innovation, or both. As product developers we’re supposed to decide between Building The Right Thing, Build It Fast, and Build The Thing Right.

The reality is that there are far more things at play. Contrary to the simplifications, there are no levers … but rather fields, sinew, arcs, push, pull, momentum, complexity, and travel. Creativity is a journey. Scale has multiple roots. Quality doesn’t just magically materialize.

This is what I came up with (click here for high res). What do you see?

John Cutler

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Multiple hat-wearer. Prod dev nut. I love wrangling complex problems and answering the why with qual/quant data. @johncutlefish on Twitter.