Fast, Cheap, Good


Fast, cheap, good: you can have any two.

I’ll give you my view on this intriguing quote.

Fast & Cheap

This is an appealing combination. Develop fast so resource and overhead costs are lower and time to market is quicker. One problem : what about quality? Can you deliver a complex application in a fast and cheap way? I believe chances are slim. Maybe with an experienced agile team that has created similar kinds of applications before and has an in-depth knowledge of the business. But I doubt that an experienced agile team will be cheap anyway.

Fast & Good

When you‘re not bound to any budgetary constraints, this is the ideal combination. You get a high quality product that can be brought to the market fast so you can beat your competitors. Off course this comes with a price tag. In order to deliver fast with high quality, you need:

• An experienced and fully committed development team.

• Full blown continuous integration, unit testing, performance testing, … to be able to guarantee a bug free solution.

• The business owners to be fully committed and really close to the team.

• An organization that can fully support the team by removing impediments at the speed of light.

Cheap & Good

This doesn’t necessarily mean that delivery time will be longer. It can mean that you have a small experienced team that keeps quality as its first concern, with a business owner that makes sure only the most valuable features are created. Don’t bother creating fancy features, keep your focus on delivering an application that gets the job done.

Personally, I prefer the last combination. Working at a steady pace, only the most valuable features get created. Release as soon as the application can provide added business value. Chances are high your application will be used and appreciated by the end users.

About Nick Oostvogels

Hi, I'm an independent management consultant. My biggest strengths are located in the fields of teamwork, motivation, leadership and continuous improvement. In the IT industry you find a lot of these values in the agile movement, in which I often act as a project leader, product owner or coach. My interests go a lot further, into other industries where we find these values in lean production. Besides that, I try to broaden my horizon as much as possible, always looking for better ways of doing business.


  1. Pingback: » Fast, Cheap, Good

  2. The title was a bit misleading, I thought that you had a way of supplying fast, good, and cheap at one shot.

    Btw, IMO, a combination of 2 isn’t that bad, most projects nowadays deliver just one.

    • noostvog

      I wish I had found a way to get all three of them 🙂
      By clearly defining which two you will persuade, I believe a customer can be very satisfied if you manage to deliver them.

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