Posted by: Marty Fahncke | July 15, 2010

Good, fast or cheap – Pick two

About a decade ago, I was working on a web project with video editor and producer Bruce Feagle, when he said something that struck me like a bolt of lighting:

“You can have good, fast, or cheap.  But you can only pick two”

Over the years, I have quoted that line to clients, vendors, employees and business partners.  Sometimes I’ve had to choose good and cheap, but it wasn’t fast. Other times I’ve had to explain to a client that he could have something good and fast, but it won’t be cheap.

Whether it’s producing infomercials, creating web sites, or crafting multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, I’ve seen rare exception where you didn’t have to pick two out of the three.  Heck, some days I’d be happy just to have any ONE of the three qualities delivered to me by a service or product supplier.

Yesterday, one of my social media connections Issamar Ginzberg posted a cool graphic he had designed which clearly articulates this concept.  He gave me permission to share:

Good fast or cheap, pick two project managment triangle

This graphic is Issamar’s variation of the “Project Triangle” aka “Project Management Triangle”. Click to read more in Wikipedia.

So what do you think?  Do you agree with the Good / Fast / Cheap philosophy?

Why or why not?

Please leave your thoughts and experiences with Good / Fast / Cheap below in the comments section.


  1. Agree 100%

  2. I agree! Especially working with documents, manuals, graphics. You can have it good and cheap, but not fast. Or you can have it fast and cheap, but not good – definitely not good if it’s fast.

  3. Three cheers for this one Marty. Totally agree. And this is something I refer to frequently as well.

    Hope your summer has been treating you well, and that you enjoyed your time off to volunteer!

    • @Jillivinilly @Lonnie and @Roy – Thank you all for stopping by and commenting on this post. Glad to see you agree!

  4. Marty,

    an honor to be quoted here (along with my graphic!)

    It’s amaizng how many people contacted me to tell me how they love it… and that a few peoplke contacted me to tell me how horrible it was and how they would never do business with someone that has the gall to post such an image…

    Issamar Ginzberg

    • @Issamar – Thank you for inspiring the post! I can’t believe people went so far as to say they would not do business with someone who believes this is true! I really would like to have a conversation with them to understand their point of view, and how they propose reconciling the three facets of a project.

  5. My only hook into this, is the implication that fast and good implies expensive…at least from my empiric point of view, “fast and cheap” means “a little pile of simple crap”. ….sadly however is that “fast and expensive” usually means “a large pile of complex crap” 😉

    But Issamar has by all means out-bested the project triangle, thumbs up 🙂


    • Thanks for stopping by Mikkel, you’ve added some food for thought to the discussion!

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