Triple Constraint in Project Management

17 Sep

Great Video on Improving Your Ability to Deliver Projects: The Triple Constraint by Andy Kaufman, PMP.  Check out his website at:

What is the Triple Constraint?

  • Scope/Quality: clearly expresses the agreed-upon desired final results of the project
  • Time/Schedule:  detailed timeline of each component required to complete the project
  • Cost/Resources: what resources need to be applied or assigned to the project in terms of money and effort in order to implementation the project

Challenges with the Triple Constraint:

  • Each of these three items are known to work in tandem with one another in a project, therefore, if one of these elements is extended or restricted, the other two items will then also need to be either extended/increased in some way or reduced/restricted in some way.
  • Prioritizing the importance of the triple constraint with your client.  For example, your client may only care about bottom line, meaning they may have a strict budget that you cannot go over X dollars.

Project Manager Roles:

  • Educate your Client: inform your client that the project has to be completed at a certain level of quality, in a certain amount of time and particular amount of investment made in order to make the project successful.  For example, if the project has a time restraint, you may need to look into increasing the resources assigned to the project, or have the quality/scope reduced.  
  • Finding the Right Balance: when making any adjustments to any of the three components and knowing the effects each has to the project, you will be able to plan your projects better, analyze project risks, and protect your organization from the problems of unrealistic client expectations and master the project itself better
  • Gauge Project’s Objects: The triple constraint helps the project manager to gauge whether a project’s objectives are being met and whether the project was a success

Triple Constraint Formula: Cost * Schedule = Quality

Please feel free to share any tips that you might have that could help others to better balance the triple constraint in their projects.  Thank you!


2 responses to “Triple Constraint in Project Management

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