Time, scope, schedule – imagine them as the walls of a box. They form the solid frame of your project, defining its limits. They’re not targets you aim for, rather, they’re boundaries you operate within. They’re not the hill you’re climbing, they’re the lines on your map.

On the other hand, business value is your true north, your guiding star. It’s the peak of the hill you’re climbing towards. Business value is the colorful treasure at the end of your monochromatic rainbow. It’s the gleaming gold at the end of a dark, winding tunnel.

Let’s unpack this.

Time is the relentless tide, forever flowing, never waiting. It’s not an objective, it’s the sand in your hourglass that keeps slipping away. Every tick of the clock echoes in your ears, a constant reminder that you’re racing against it.

Scope? It’s the field within which you play, the canvas upon which you paint. A change in scope is like moving the goal posts mid-game, or finding your canvas suddenly shrinking or expanding. Your objective is not to adjust to the field or canvas, but to score the goal, paint the masterpiece.

Schedule is the heartbeat of your project, the rhythm of your work. It’s not the song you’re trying to play, but the tempo at which you strum. Changing the schedule is like changing the pace of a race – it’s challenging, but not the goal. The goal is to cross the finish line, to complete the song.

In contrast, business value is the spark that ignites the flame of success. It’s the melody you’re striving to play, the masterpiece you’re attempting to paint, the finish line you’re yearning to cross. Unlike time, scope, or schedule, it’s not a constraint—it’s the compelling, driving force that fuels your journey.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.