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Good news! Here is the truth about the price, speed, and quality dilemma


It’s a phrase we’ve all encountered in the service industries: Price, speed, quality: pick two.

But, is this always true when it comes to delivering projects?

You see, the project management triangle (which is actually a pyramid, but more on that later) often gets complicated. When a customer expects a job to be done in a rush, with outstanding results, and at a ‘budget’ price, the whole experience can be unpleasant for everyone involved.

Going once, going twice… sold to the lowest bidder?

Whatever it is you are doing, it’s probably safe to say that there is someone out there who will do it cheaper, or faster. But what will the result be? You can browse freelancer websites all day and find people who will work for less, but we all know there are tradeoffs made in the work that you get at reduced rates. Just as an example, the time you spend managing a freelancer to produce what you need, can end up costing you more than you thought you would ‘save’ by outsourcing in the first place.

The truth is that those who are only willing to pay the lowest possible price don’t – or at least shouldn’t – expect to receive the highest quality work.

Why can’t we have it all?

Many will likely disagree with me on this point, but I say you can have it all, and that those who say otherwise, are actually apologists for their own inability to deliver value.

Still, it is notoriously hard to find common ground when it comes to the price, speed, and quality of a project. The various factors are often in conflict with one another, with the time needed to make a project turn out great driving up the costs. The natural response to this problem is to make money-saving cuts, which usually hurts the overall quality.

But, if everyone came to see the investment of time, money, and effort into a project as an investment that will see a return, and everyone involved is capable of delivering that outcome, then there is less need to drive down quality to save time and money. Great projects, when planned correctly, draw great results. Simple.

In order to reconcile the conflicts and move past the dilemma, we have to change our perspectives on a few key points.

Scope it out

At the core, all this is about pricing. It’s fairly simple to assign a value for time, for supplies and resources. But what is harder to put a figure on is scope. By that, I mean the complexity and amount of work needed to complete a given project.

Do you need to create and deploy some web banners over the course of three months on a budget? Sure, easy enough.

How about planning a complete, three-month, multi-faceted digital campaign with all the bells and whistles? Now that’s considerably more difficult.

Ostensibly, both of these scenarios are ‘digital campaigns,’ but which do you think will require more depth and scope to complete? The second one, clearly, should be expected to cost more.

But, the agency that is conducting the comprehensive campaign must be qualified and experienced enough to get more of a return out of those same three months than the banners alone would. This is where our triangle becomes a pyramid – it is only when you’re working with a team that can sufficiently grasp and deliver the scope needed, that you can really bring the magic.


Price. Speed. Quality. And, value.

That’s what really makes the difference.

Here’s your cake. Feel free to eat it, too

But will this value-based approach work for you?

When it comes to the management of your next project, think about how much you and your team have invested in it. Shouldn’t you expect an equal investment from any company you contract to help execute the project?

This is where all parties of a project should shift perspective to gauge everything around the concept of ‘value.’ In fact, you can gauge the amount of value that you are receiving just by looking at the pyramid side-on.


Value means getting the best quality of work – evidenced by the achievement of a desirable outcome – for what you pay.

Price, speed, and quality may never become a totally perfect machine in the sense that input is evenly matched by output, but the close alignment of the concept of value by all involved goes a long way toward answering the problem.

Getting results takes time and effort, and those things always have a cost. But, the more you put in, the better the outcome.

After all, what would you really want for your brand?

Rishad Sukhia is the Founder and Director of Brightlabs, an award-winning creative digital agency. He has over 9 years experience in the digital media industry in varying roles including operations, business development, and digital strategy. In 2011, Rishad was listed as one of Australia’s top entrepreneurs under 30.