"“A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.” - Mildred Struven

PMP®:CAPM® - Project Constraints

The limitations of human life are limitations of project also. There are limits to what work (scope) we do, what money (cost) we spend and what time (schedule) we have.

Constraints are defined as the "A limiting factor that affects the execution of a project,program,portfolio or a process", as per PMBOK5.The constraints restrict the actions of the project team. Constraints are documented at high level in the Project Charter and later elaborated in detail in the Scope Statement. 

The following are the project constraints.

Cost – It is limited to the Sponsor imposed funding limits. 

Scope – It is limited to the work as defined in Contract. What is in scope and out of scope is clearly defined.  

Schedule – It is limited to the client given milestone dates and other milestones defined by the project team.

Quality – It is limited to conformance to a Quality Standard/Model such as ISO, 6 Sigma or CMMi.

Resources – It is limited to the available skilled Human Resources

Risks – threats due to natural calamities. Scope may be reduced to avoid a risk or budget may increase when reserve is added to deal with risks. 

The 3 most important project constraints schedule, cost and scope are called as triple constraints. They were thought of as the only project constraints. The quality, resources and risks were added at later. 

A change in any of these constraints will lead to change in other constraints. So it is important that these constraints are documented and managed effectively. 

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