Faster, Cheaper, Better – yes, you can have them all!

Faster, Cheaper, Better – yes, you can have them all! There are a few articles flying around that state for a product or service you have three fundamental options: Fast, Good and Cheap, but you can ever only choose two?


When I first saw this, I thought, yep that’s about right. However, when this label started to get slapped onto every manner of product and service, something didn’t quite feel right.

In fact, in today’s world, with the availability of agile and iterative tools and services, it is not fait accompli. Not only can you have all three attributes, but you should also be striving for Faster, Cheaper and Better. A mantra that continues to drive our business and now demanded of us!

Project Management Triangle(Image Source)

This is how it goes; you have the above three options for a product or service of which you can only ever choose either:

  • Fast & Cheap, but not Good.
  • Fast & Good, but not Cheap.
  • Cheap & Good, but not Fast.

So where did this come from? Its origins are in the project management triangle (left). A project manager’s tool used for defining and measuring a project goal. In short, it’s a planning tool to determine what the end product looks like. It now seems to be used by any incumbent in any industry which is being upset by disruption.

In an article posted on “Fast, Good or Cheap. Pick Three?”. It argues that by applying an Agile and Lean process for product development, you can have all three. A statement that anyone who has worked in the SaaS industry knows to be exact!

With the development of new agile, lean and iterative methodologies with a focus on solving a specific set of problems, not only can you improve the process of product or service delivery, but can do it while reducing the cost, time, and still delivering the same outcome.
Fast Good Better 1

In an article that was written back in 2007 by Jacob Neilson, “Fast, Cheap, and Good: Yes, You Can Have It All” (Neilson Norman Group) pointed out that in usability research, Fast and Cheap often yields the best results and more importantly delivers the insights fast, so you are still able to do something about it.

Looking back; a Business Insider Australia highlighted how the “Membership-based delivery services are beginning to disrupt the $600 billion-a-year grocery industry.”. The article goes on to point out that “Membership grocery services help secure consumers as repeat customers and allow companies to lower individual shipping fees on every order. Shipping fees are typically a big barrier to grocery delivery because orders must be delivered fast to guarantee freshness.” (last accessed 9th September 2019).

You only need to look at services like (online marketplace for education and courses) to realise that not only can you have Fast, Cheap and Good; you often get Fast, Cheap and so much Better. I have been astounded at the quality of some of these courses. Moreover, often question why some of these experts can deliver course work better than is available from our universities.

In our own business at GroupQuality, we have adopted both agile and iterative methods of market research product and service delivery. We strive to do it Faster, Cheaper and Better, a goal that drives innovation in our, own value chain, and is a goal that is causing a great deal of disruption in many industries including our own.

The fact is that many do not like change. However, the truth is, disruption is here to stay. To all those naysayers who still think you can’t achieve Cheap, Fast and Good, keep thinking this way, and watch those innovative companies embrace the “impossible” by delivering products and services which offer on all three.

To check some other agile market research options:

Steven Mallows is the Research Director at GroupQuality: Agile Qualitative & Quantitative Market Research Software & Services.

Feedback, Insights and Knowledge. Faster, Easier and For Less.


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