What are the 6 constraints of a project
What are the 6 constraints of a project

A constraint as defined by the Cambridge dictionary, is “something that controls what you do by keeping you within particular limits”. With that in mind, this article discusses the six inevitable constraints that each project gets to be faced with. Further, some of the ways in which the constraints can be managed, what are the 6 constraints of a project will equally be discussed thereafter, a conclusion will be drawn.

What Are The 6 Constraints Of A Project?

The 6 constraints of a project are Time, Cost, Quality, Resources, Risks, and Scope. These are the top six constraints of a project and definition.


Time constraints are an important element for project success. As a project manager, it is your job to evaluate the project schedule as accurately as possible. You should rely on previous projects and use this data to plan accordingly. In addition, you should consider possible delays, change requests, risks and uncertainties. On this basis, you should determine what are the 6 constraints of a project, the exact duration of the project and pass it on to those involved.

READ: Importance Of Project Scope

Also, make sure you include the deadlines for each phase. It helps you focus on important tasks and complete them on time. However, not meeting the schedule may result in project delays. Therefore, what are the 6 constraints of a project shows a clearly defined project plan is one of the most important strategies for effective time management. You should take the time to plan ahead to minimize the number of adjustments needed in the future and reduce the time spent on unnecessary activities.

2. Cost

Cost refers to the amount of money invested in the project to achieve the desired results. For example, a client wants to develop a website for their company with an estimated budget of $1 million. As a project manager, you need to plan projects so that they don’t go over budget. You must control the costs within the proposed budget, otherwise it will result in excess.
It is very important to estimate costs as accurately as possible before making a project plan. This allows you to create a baseline to compare your costs throughout the project cycle and monitor your progress. In addition, you can compare costs with thoroughly researched market prices, supplier offers, historical data, to mention a few.

3. Quality

Quality limits depend on the characteristics of the delivery provided. Project quality is measured by the extent to which the results meet expectations. As a project manager, you must ensure that you maintain the quality of the project as this directly contributes to customer satisfaction. All three main limitations – scope, cost and time affect the quality of the project. For example, changes in scope spiral through schedules and budgets, leading to a decline in project quality.

Changes in quality expectations also affect the three boundary conditions. For example, if a customer wants to get a product of the highest quality, it will increase the price and duration. It can also change the project scope. Therefore, these four constraints are interrelated.

4. Resources

Resources are an important driver of project success and also contribute significantly to the budget. It can be people, devices, facilities, etc. Resources have a direct impact on all other constraints. Therefore, the project manager must manage resources efficiently to keep all other constraints under control. Inappropriate allocation of resources can result in poor quality, including deadlines and budget overruns.

In addition, for a successful implementation, managers must ensure that all team members are optimally placed in the project for maximum productivity and no fatigue. The right resource management solution helps allocate the right resources to projects, maximizes efficient use, and provides powerful analysis for timely decision making.

5. Risks

Risk is inherent in every project and can benefit the project or even derail it. As a project manager, you must anticipate and plan to combat them at every step of the project. This can involve simulating different scenarios to find the best outcome within the given constraints, or formulating contingency plans. You should also define your risk tolerance and risk management strategy to reduce risk if necessary.

READ: What Is Involved In Risk Matrix?

There are usually two types of risk, positive and negative. Suppose a new technology can speed up your project and allow you to complete the project on time. Of course, taking advantage of such a unique opportunity involves risks, but at the same time has a positive effect on your project. On the other hand, the sudden depletion of critical resources due to stress is a negative risk and will hinder project implementation. You should have a backup plan for situations like this.

6. Scope

The scope of the project is not an evaluation but a set of guaranteed results. For the project to be successful, the main outcomes or stages defined in the scope must be achievable. These results need to be agreed upon by key stakeholders. For example, in a house building project, the scope includes the construction of two bedrooms, a kitchen and an entrance hall. However, interior design and flooring are not included. The project manager must indicate which results are delivered and which are not. This way, everyone involved in the project knows what they are trying to achieve.

For project managers, a thorough scope assessment is critical to determining project success. To do this, you must first create a project scope statement outlining what will and will not be included in the project.
The following are some of the ways in which constraints can be managed:

Plan and Strategize Each Phase of The Project

Making the right plan will help you avoid common limitations. A work breakdown structure, where each step is broken down into tasks, helps to understand the scope of the project. You can organize and list roles in detail, as well as schedule and assigned team members. It allows you to track the duration and monitor the cost of each step. Plus, you can take the necessary actions if something does not go according to plan.

Understand Each Constraint Clearly

When you come to a realization how constraints impact your project, you will be put in a situation where you will have no choice other than planning for them. To manage them, it is necessary to know each constraint and identify which aspects of the project to include. Based on this, you can apply techniques like risk analysis, resource balancing, and the like to reverse the side effects of constraints.

Implement Appropriate Quality Management

It is not enough to merely stick the project’s schedule, budget and scope, the quality of delivery must meet the standards. To do this, you need effective project quality management. To make improvement of the quality management system, you ought to rigorously engage yourself in making sure you check the key points in the process on a regular basis.

Balance Resource Consumption

Excessive resources with work can cause stress and cause fatigue to employees. At the same time, not taking advantage of your employees’ talents and capabilities can reduce their productivity and even lead to unplanned burnout. Also, since resources are one of the most critical constraints of a project, inefficient use can lead to project delays and budget overruns. Thus, the optimal use of project employees is the key to the company’s growth in terms of its profit and long-term sustainability.

Have A Risk-Management Strategy

A thoughtful and carefully planned risk management strategy can spot, evaluate, and be prepared for all potential risks. This gives you the impetus to face the inevitable challenges and uncertainties that come with projects head-on, aside from empowering you create more value. Once a strategy is in place, it is easier to resolve internal risks. It also gives you the foreknowing abilities by empowering you to assess threats way before they actually happen.

Transparent communication between project team members

In order to successfully manage project constraints, there is need to have transparent communication. Thanks to transparency, every member taking part in the project is well acquainted with information regarding the project’s priorities and goals.

Further, he or she has the clearest of understandings of what is expected of them and what they, in turn, can offer in the overall attainment of the project’s objectives. Having a transparent communication system increases their productivity and keeps them busy.

READ: Types Of Stakeholders In A Project

In conclusion, it is important to know the constraints as they help in the planning of the project. The constraints help when it comes to deciding on what is really important in the project and what is not what are the 6 constraints of a project is all about. With limited time and resources, the needs ought to be prioritized over wants and as result, knowing the constraints help make that decision.

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