It reminds us that whenever we approach a problem, we have to remember that there are tradeoffs. Plus, it’s a great way to make decisions: to gain in one area, you must be willing to lose something somewhere else.
My bet is that this saying has even come up when you are trying to decide whether to do something in-house or send it out to your agency (especially in reference to that “cheap” part, right?)
But this phrase is also a great way to decide priorities when there are multiple stakeholders in any situation. In fact, give that phrase a bit of a twist, turn them into math equations, and everything becomes clearer to even the most stubborn committee member:
Good + Fast = Expensive
All hands on deck! Cancel all appointments, postpone everything else, and everyone works 25-hour days until it is done. Just don’t expect it to stay within budget.
Good + Cheap = Slow
The work will be good, but to keep the costs low it will have to be done in-between or after the higher priority projects.
Fast + Cheap = Mediocre
You get what you pay for, but it will be done by Tuesday.