Triple Constraint in Projects

When we talk about projects we can’t ignore the constraints that we face throughout the project cycle. However, there are three that are considered the most important and they are: scope, cost, and time and are known as the triple constraint.

The areas of knowledge according to the PMBOK are 10 and are mentioned below:

  1. Project integration
  2. Project scope management
  3. Project time management
  4. Project cost management
  5. Project quality management
  6. Project Human Resource Management
  7. Project Communication Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management
  10. Project Stakeholder Management

In this case, we will focus on the areas covered by the triple constraint and their respective processes, since all projects must comply with the scope, cost, time and any deviation of one variable affects all the others.

Project scope management

In scope management, everything that has to do with the scope of the project is validated and the work required to finish the project is managed, its main objective is to define what is included and what is not included in the project.

In this area we have the following processes available:

  1. Plan Scope Management
  2. Collect Requirements
  3. Define Scope
  4. Create WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)
  5. Validate Scope
  6. Control Scope

Project time management

In schedule management, a detailed plan is made to inform stakeholders how and when the project will deliver the unique services, products and results defined in the project scope.

This area of ​​knowledge covers everything that has to do with the definition of the work required to comply with the agreed scope, placing the activities in the correct order, estimating their duration and as a final result the creation of the project schedule.

In this area we have the following processes available:

  1. Plan Schedule Management
  2. Define Activities
  3. Sequence Activities
  4. Estimate Activity Resources
  5. Estimate Activity Durations
  6. Develop Schedule
  7. Control Schedule

A project schedule is a key tool for controlling activities and is used to generate different performance reports.

Project cost management

Cost management focuses on project finances, mainly on estimating, budgeting and controlling the costs associated with resources and activities, an exhaustive control must be guaranteed to avoid cost overruns.

The key benefit of this area is that it offers us guidance and indications on how project costs are managed throughout the project and when deviations occur it provides us with the necessary tools to correct them.

In this area we have the following processes available:

  1. Plan cost management
  2. Estimate costs
  3. Determine budget
  4. Control cost

Throughout the entire life cycle of the project we have several tools that allow us to manage the different issues that are presented to us and good management of the triple constraint guarantees successful completion of the project, but everything must be framed within a quality framework, I dare say that the quality management area is a fundamental pillar and could be considered a quadruple constraint.

As a reference, the key objective of the quality management area is to ensure that the highest quality products and deliverables are produced by the project and has the following processes:

  1. Plan Quality Management
  2. Manage Quality  
  3. Control Quality


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