Project Management - Constraints

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Project Mangement - Constraints
By Jasmeet Prakash
A project has many factors which determine its level of manageability and success. These factors can be considered constraints which may cause delays or difficulties. The most important criteria for a balanced project is often quoted as the careful organisation of these constraints. Constraint reducing techniques are used to better equip a Project Manager for success. These techniques are accomplished through the use of practical guides or methods, improving communication and personal skill of the Manager.

A constraint is a limitation or a restriction. This is anything which can delay the project. In order to figure out how to avoid constraints, it is important to first establish what the specific constraints of a project can be. A project is done on the request of a stakeholder or client who wants something done in a particular way (the needs and wants of the Client). The time in which to complete this is almost always given. The factor of cost is very important as it is a precious and valuable resource which determines the way in which the project can be handled. For example, if a small two bedroom home were to be constructed with the budget of one million dollars, it's very easy to hire plenty of workers, easily pay for materials and have it done on time. If only a budget of two hundred dollars were given, then the project would bound to fail because there would not be enough to cover the labourers pay let alone the cost for materials or to continue construction. Taking these factors into consideration, it is clear that setbacks can be caused due to time, cost and scope constraints. The scope of a project can be further broken down into Project Scope (what needs to be completed with what resources and tools) and Product scope (what the product outcome needs to incorporate). These are the three main and most common constraints found in Construction projects, although others may include communication difficulties, interpersonal relations or law and resource restrictions etc.

Cost effects the efficiency and quality of the project and its outcome. The budget of a project is worked out at the beginning stages when planning. The budget includes cost of the entire amount needed to complete a particular project. Almost 220% of projects go over budget. This can be caused by various things such as the need to hire more workers, modifications to the project, increase in price of materials etc. Costs can be monitored using formulas to determine many things, such as finding the breakeven point of a project or seeing the cash flows. The time to complete a project really determines the quality of the final outcome. Time also determines how many workers are needed and how frequently work needs to be done. The scope of a Project can cause difficulties when considering resources and requirements. A stakeholder may want certain things in the final outcome which may be difficult to produce. A simple formula shows how these three constraints are linked Cost * Schedule = Quality. Basically what it tells us is the budget of a project and the time constraint determines the quality of the outcome.

The first way mentioned in which constraints can be reduced is through vigorous planning. A successful project is one that meets all its requirements and is beyond a satisfactory standard to its Stakeholders. In order for this to happen, from the planning stage through to its completion, a timeline of some sort must be made which deals with stages. Every project has various stages, one may not be able to be started without finishing another. Managing projects by stages ensures that if all individual tasks are completed on time, the final outcome of the project will be finished on time. The use of an organisation strategy is also done to enable efficient work through to completion and eliminate as many speed bumps as possible. A checklist is a good way to be sure that requirements are being...
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