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Fast, Cheap or Good? Pick Two.

Fast, Cheap or Good? Pick Two.

So, you want custom software developed, and you need it fast, cheap and good? Sorry, you’re out of luck there.

fast-cheap-good“Fast, Cheap or Good? Pick Two.” is a maxim used in the project management world to reference the Iron Triangle.

In the triangle, “cheap” references cost, “fast” references time to deliver, and “good” references features and quality (aka scope).

All three can not be optimized. Pick the two that are most important and decide where your team can be flexible.

In other words…

Quick + Cheap = Inferior Quality or Less Features

If you want a mobile app developed quick and cheap, it will lack features and/or quality. In some cases, mainly a prototype, this may be acceptable.

Quick + High Quality = Not Cheap

If you want a mobile app developed quickly and to a high standard, it won’t be cheap.

High Quality + Cheap = Not Quick or Not Possible

If you want a high quality and cheap mobile app it’s going to take a relatively long time (or may not be possible at all).

What Happens if You Want to Pick Something Different

The Iron Triangle also dictates that if your team needs to modify any one of these three factors during the project:

  1. good -> add more features
  2. cheap -> add to or take away from the budget
  3. fast -> deliver sooner, or later

then at least one of the other factors must be modified as well.

In other words…

  • If you want to add more features, your app will take longer and/or cost more to develop.
  • If you want to speed up the time to delivery, be prepared to remove some features, and/or pay more.
  • If you have a sudden need to reduce budget, expect to also reduce features.

Which is The Best Choice?

The best choice for your team is something that needs to be determined on a project by project, or version by version, basis.

This is something we discuss during our discovery process with new clients. We will make recommendations based on your goals, budget and other important factors.

There is a best choice for your team; but there is no cookie cutter answer we can give here. Only that there must be flexibility.


Does your organization need a custom mobile app developed? Reach out to start the conversation with our team and we’ll follow up with a few questions to ensure it’s a good fit. Then we’ll schedule a call to discuss.

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Sara @ Big Fish

Sara @ Big Fish

Sara MacQueen is the Founder and President of Big Fish - we turn revolutionary ideas into reality through custom software design and development. Sara was named one of "25 Mobile Women to Watch" and has been interviewed by local and national media for her expertise in mobile technology and business. Need custom app development -> Reach out here

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