Project Management Triple Constraint

Published: 2023-01-10
Project Management Triple Constraint
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Government Entertainment Accounting
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1943 words
17 min read

A project is an activity that one may be involved in that is not permanent. It has a definite start and a particular end time. Besides, a project has a set of specific scope and the resources that are needed. A project is unique since it is not an operation that takes place routinely, but it is a particular activity that is tailored to achieve a specific objective. Therefore, project management is the use of managerial knowledge, techniques, tools, and skills to meet the set aims of the project. (Izmailov, Korneva, & Kozhemiakin, 2016). Projects are bound to three types of constraints throughout the whole process of the project, that is from the onset to the end of the project. These constraints include time, cost and scope.

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A constraint in project management is any limitations which restrict the achievement of an intended outcome of a project. It is critical to take note of these constraints as these are the primary determinants that would influence the result as well as the management skill a project manager will apply. These constraints are crucial in that in other cases, and they may determine whether a project is feasible or not and this forms the ground on which a project can be closed or continued. The project restrictions can be placed in several distinct groups, and it is essential to know and understand each of the limitations and the implications to the project. By having this knowledge, as a project manager, you will analyze constraints and significantly increase your readiness to deal with them.

There has been misconstrued information that most people believe in that the constraints of project management are always internal. This means that the limitations are from the factors occurring internally from the project. Even though the limitations emanating from the internal project factor like the scope and cost are major role players in defining the constraints of the project, some external factors including the environment and the project's stakeholder can also lead to limitations that would amount to project constraints.

Triple Project Management Constraints

At one point, most people including those that do not have a lot of knowledge on the management of a project have come across the famous triple constraints of a project. The triple constraints are also known as the triangle of project management. (Kerzner, & Kerzner, 2017). The reason they are called a triangle or triple constraints is that they are three. These are the primary constraints of project management. They include time, cost and the scope. All projects adhere to these constraints. Every project manager aims at working within these constraints. The manager should ensure that the project takes the set time from the start to end. The project manager must also ensure that the project sticks to the set budget and must also ensure that the project remains within the scope that is agreed.

The quality of the project is dependent on adherence to the constraints. It is essential to note that any alteration on the three limitations may affect the quality of the project

Importance of the triple constraints

The triple constraints of a project are crucial. Considering that these constraints are restrictions, this would mean that the manager must get creative. So the project constraints enhance creativity as well as innovation. The limitations provide metrics that drive the project progressively as well as creating room for and modifications as might be needed when an issue arises. (Kerzner, & Kerzner, 2017). The triple constraints is a platform that assist the project managers in knowing whatever is taking place and what would help him in accomplishing his work as well as the influence they will bring on other aspects of the project. The use of a project management dashboard enables the project manager to keep an eye on the project as it moves on. Several metrics to include the cost, scope, and schedules ensure that the project is on track.

The Triple Project Constraints

Project management is bound to operate within the three constraints of a project are time, cost and the scope. As found earlier, the triple project constraints are of help to the mangers of specific projects. The three constraints are discussed in details below.


Time as a project constraint is the schedule or the time frame within which a project should operate. Time constraint stipulates when the project should commence its operations to the time when the objective has been adequately achieved hence the closure time of the project. The time constraint has its fixture based on diverse factors such as the requirements of the customers, the availability of the resources that will sustain the project as well as its feasibility. (Kerzner, & Kerzner, 2017). Therefore, every project must have a deadline which determines during the first stages of the project. When there is a compromise on time, for instance, is the time is decreased, this will have an impact on the other constraints as it will require more money as well as increasing the scope of the project. When one of the constraints is affected, it tends to change the other constraints directly.

The schedule of a project can be managed through a process of time management as provided by the Project Management Body of Knowledge. This body, therefore, offers several steps towards the management of time. The measures may include plan schedule management; define the activities of the project, laying down the sequence of the project's events, estimating the resources of the project activities. Besides, the body provides for an estimate of the duration of the activities, schedule development and finally to come up with a control schedule to be used throughout the project.


Cost is the other constraint of a project. Cost is the budget under which the whole project should stick to from the time of start to the end of the project. (Kerzner, & Kerzner, 2017). It is critical to note that if the cost is increased, the time which the project should take reduces. Therefore just as time, cost also influences the other constraints of the project. Understanding this manager will be able to design his budget in a way that conforms to the additional restrictions. All schemes operate under a specific budget to achieve the required outcomes. If the budget is cut down, the project is likely to take longer, and the scope of the project may decline. Cost as a constraint in project management, therefore, refers to the amount of an estimate of money which a project requires to produce its final deliverables. Financial aspects of a project need to be estimated before the project which will sum up all the amount of money that a specific project requires in order to be completed successfully.

Cost in project management and success is critical as it serves many purposes. Some of these purposes include the purchase of materials, hiring of laborers as well as other resources that will be necessary for the project. However, the cost constraint is dependent on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include the size and the type of the project, the number of materials and other resources that the project may require as well as the amount of labor and the laborers that will be necessary for the project. Besides, there are fixed and variable costs inherent any only project in progress such as the different skills and productivity as well as the economic value of the project. Having considered this, it can be of great benefit when it comes to the application of contract workers or the actual hiring of laborers.

The scope

The scope is the third constraint in the management of any project. The range of a project defines the boundaries within which the project must operate. (Kerzner, & Kerzner, 2017). It is usual in most projects that the scope is fully synthesized, understood and communicated adequately to give trustworthy information and knowledge to the relevant stakeholders from the start of the project. This is done to ensure that the project is given an excellent opportunity to achieve its full objectives. However, it is possible to alter the scope of a project by the target customers during the life of the project. This change of magnitude is often known as the scope creep. The scope is, therefore, the operational components of a plan that outlines the end of the deliverable capability of the project. An increase in the scope in the later stages of a project may influence other constraints, the time and the cost. These constraints will be increased as the scope increases and the vice versa.

Additionally, the scope of a project deals with absolute necessities or activities in order to have a project that is complete. The scope is essential in the management of a specific project since if the manager is unable to control the scope of the project, then the manager is not likely to achieve the set goals on time and the estimated budget. When managing the scope it is crucial to give priorities to tasks hence enabling the manager to strategize and accord the necessary resources efficiently. As a manager, it is critical to keep off any prerequisite activities in an attempt to make the project run smoothly without problems.

There are times when two or more projects conflict. As a project manager, he/she will be needed to make a conscious judgment in choosing the most critical constraints of the project in its management depending on the preference of the customers. A situation where two significant constraints in a project are conflicting with each other is known as the Pick Two Principle. To make a sound decision about the Pick Two Principle in project management, the manager will need to have adequate skills in making decisions.

Conflicting Project Constraints

A project manager who can balance the conflicting constraints of the project and eventually deliver a successful project is considered auspicious. (Izmailov, et al., 2106). A project that is ideal with nil constraints for the manager to handle makes the project manager have a few choices and little flexibility to later projects that will have the constraints. Such a manager will have substantial challenges to deal with when he finally lands into a project that requires his flexibility which he had not practiced in the previous project.

How to apply the triple constraint

Project managers often apply the project management constraints in their daily activities in the management. When one is a project manager, he/she is likely to engage in some variables that tend to vary from time to time. Other project managers are unable to apply and handle two variables. The triple project management constraints allow the manager to have an idea of what should and should not be modified throughout the progress of the project. For instance, if a manager is lagging behind the time, he should resolve to decrease the characteristics of the project. This would allow the manager to commit more resources and labor towards catching up with the timeline. (Izmailov, et al., 2106).

In essence, the constraints of project management are balancing activity. The manager has the mandate to ensure that the constraints balance as the example there above has attempted to illustrate. Therefore, a project manager should ensure that they have the necessary knowledge about the constraints and how to manipulate them to make his work more comfortable and enable him to deliver a high-quality project. The manager should take adequate time to think and learn about the constraints and how he can use them effectively without making them to conflict. The knowledge about how the constraints operate enables the project manager to make modifications whenever and wherever the need arises from a knowledge point of view. (Izmailov,...

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Project Management Triple Constraint. (2023, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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