Project assumptions and constraints are one of the most commonly used terms in the project management and the PMBOK Guide. You must have a clear understanding about these project management terms in order to understand the scope statement and various other concepts.
Keep in mind that, as per the PMBOK guide, project assumptions and project constraints can be found in the project scope statement.
Project assumptions and constraints need to be monitored throughout the entire project life cycle, and can be amended or revised at any time if required. If you fail to pay proper attention to them, it may affect your project’s result. These parameters play a very important role during the project planning process. Moreover, your risk management planning process is heavily dependent on the assumptions.
Assumption and constraint can be anything related to human resources, budget, time or functionality.
Now let us discuss them one by one.
Assumption is your belief or this is what you assumed to be true in the future. The basis of assumption is your experience, knowledge, and the information available to you.
Assumptions are supposed to be true, and if they happen to be wrong, it can have a significant effect on your project.
Your risk management plan is dependent on these assumptions. If your assumptions go wrong then your risk management plan may not be as effective as it should be.
Therefore, as a project manager, you must write down all assumptions for future verification and validation. You may also make amendment to it if needed.
Constraints are limitations imposed on the project, and you must work within the boundaries restricted by these constraints. The PMBOK guide recognizes the six project constraints; i.e. scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources and risk. Out of these six, scope, schedule, and budget are collectively known as the triple constraints of the project.
Every project has constraints; therefore, it is in your best interest to have a better understanding about your project constraints; e.g. any milestone, scope, budget, schedule, and availability of resources. Once you understand your project constraints, you will be in a better position to develop your project plan accordingly.
Usually, constraints are the hurdles during your project execution process. The only way to deal with them is to document them properly and create a plan is such a way as to satisfy all project limitations.
An interesting fact about the project constraint is that if the constraints become false or no longer valid, it is most likely that your project will get benefit from it.
Constraints are outside of your control – they are imposed upon your project either by the clients, by your organization, or by any government regulation.
A few examples of assumptions and constraints are as follows:
- During the rainy season you may get cheap daily workers
- You will be provided with all resources required by you
- You must finish 25% of the project work within 30 days
- You must work within the available resources
I hope that now you have better understanding about the project assumptions and constraints. Let me know if you have any further queries about them, and I will be happy to respond to your questions.
This is an important topic from the PMP Certification exam point of view. You may see one question this topic on your PMP Test.
image credit => renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net