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Project Constraints

Rock Pine Partners Triple Constraint

Project constraints often are referred to as "Triple Constraints", "Iron Triangle" or "Project Management Triangle". They highlight the independency and relationship of the key influencing components of a project:

Budget (Formerly Cost)

Schedule (Formerly Time)


Project management theory and logic suggests that if you adjust any constraint there must be some adjustment in the other key components to keep the triangle in balance. For example, if you increase the scope of a project, this would adjust the schedule or duration of the project and the cost of the project as time is money.

Recently, many project managers took a look at the "Triple Constraint" and in the 4th Edition of the PMBOK or "Project Management Body of Knowledge" expanded it to six (6) constraints or components:







The logic being that quality, the knowledge of or skill of the resources and the risk level all also influence the project.

There is a great quote by Warren Buffet, that illustrates that not every project easily allows for adjustment of a constraint to meet an objective.

"No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant."

When planning or managing a project, a change in a constraint has an impact on other constraints and these impacts need to be understood and accepted to ensure a successful project. Also, when adjusting constraints a good dose of common sense/logic should be included.

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