The Quadrant Model
Any project that takes schedule and budget allocations seriously needs to consider trade-offs designed to reduce work in order to meet the constraint. Unfortunately, trade-off decisions are not always determined logically, and may not be explicit. As a result, the decision may be less effective, and may be regretted.
The Quadrant Model provides a framework for the sponsor and the PM to effectively negotiate changes designed to keep the project work and available resources in balance. Resources are on one axis as cost and schedule, work is represented on the second axis by product functionality and quality factors. The model reminds stakeholders of the connections embedded in a project; a change in one quadrant inevitably causes a change in another.
Specific trade-off factors can be listed for each quadrant and tabled as input for discussion. If product quality factors were prioritized using the Point Model, this information now comes into play. If factors can be implemented at different grade levels, then retaining the factor at basic grade might be an option.
Other techniques, such as Alternatives Analysis and Contingency Assessment, can also assist with methodical and effective negotiation. The desired outcome is a quality specification that is consistent with schedule and cost constraints.
Finally, remember that down-grading of quality factors, or removal of the less critical functionalities, will almost certainly have an impact on forecast maintenance budgets. Depending on the customer's budgeting mechanisms, this fact may be drawn into consideration during trade-off talks.