Why managing triple constraint is Important in projects

Do you know what Triple constraint in Project Management is? How it has become an important tool in managing a project which results in better stakeholders’ happiness?

In this article, we will see what triple constraint is and why it is important in the management of projects. We also see how changes to one constraint impact others.

What is Project Triple Constraint?

Projects are operating within the boundaries of  Scope, Time, and Cost. These are called constraints of a project. It restricts the actions of the project team required to achieve project objectives and also knows as the project management triangle or Iron triangle. These are the main constraints of a project. Each side or point of the project manager constraint triangle is triple constraints: Scope, Time, and Cost, Here Scope is the Work to be done to create the functionality and feature available on the product. Whenever there is a change to one side or corner, the other two sides/corner will automatically be changed

Now let us check these constraints in detail and how they limit project activities or their impact on the project deliverables.

Project Scope

The scope is the only work that needs to be done to complete the project product, result, or service. The scope of the project is the work to be done to create the project product whereas the requirement document is the feature of the product what the customer wanted to have on the end product.

Effect of the scope creep

In case the client needs some additional feature for the feature which are not in the required agreed and asking project o add these features this additional requirement is called scope creep. So there is a change in the Scope, the additional task which ned to create the additional feature. which will result from an increase in time or close, as it might require additional resources to complete the additional feature. More resource will increase cost and the Time required to add feature will change the scheduled time of the final delivery of the product

Project Time

The project team is involved to identify all the deliverables and the approved scope is called the scope baseline. The Schedule time is estimated based on individual task estimates. The accuracy of the time estimate depends upon the detailed  Scope. Based on the scope, all the tasked are identified, sequenced, estimate time for each task. Many tools are used to sequence and estimated the project time E.g.Gantt chart.

Effects of the Deadline change

Suppose, customer request to preponed the project deadline for delivery, either scope needs to adjusted or more resources will be added to at an additional cost.

Project Cost

Project Cost is the budget required to complete all the project related work, It includes all resource, material &  Equipment cost required to complete the project work. The project cost is estimates are based on time estimate and resource/material/Equipment cost.

Effect of Budget Cut 

If the budget is slashed by a sponsor/Customer, then the project team forced to scale back the project requirement(Scope changed ) to complete the project within the new budget. A change to the baseline is handled by the accepted change process. The impact of the change on other constraint is analyzed and seek approval for the new baseline by the sponsor/Customer.

Budget Overage

These are projects that were successfully completed, but had problems: the budgets or schedules were overrun, or the functionality delivered was less than the functionality expected. Management was likely disappointed or surprised, and money may have been spent addressing. Ensure action taken before it before it makes a big problem. Balance project contains to make shared holder happy

Project management constraint example

In the Voice infrastructure project, Planning of the project is completed and the based line is approved. The Technical team started to implement the project, But the customer, he is working from the same building used to visit the implementation team for a causal update an asked engineer to add few more feature which was not approved in the plan. Such requests are called scope creep. But Even the approved change to the original Scope also difficult to implement at the later stage. Whenever there is a change in Scope the approved Cost and schedule subject to change as it needs more effort/time to implement the additional requirement.Which would lead to a change in deadline and Cost of the solution

How to implement  the triple constraint in a project

To limit the constraints within the approved limit, we need to Keep an eye on the triple constraint. We use different project tools to monitor the triple constraints. How does it use to manage the project?

Even in the project kick-off meeting, the background and why the project details would be shared with the project team. And in most projects, the project team is involved to complete the project plan and other details which would help the team to sync completely with the requirement and Scope. The Project Team will raise the flag when Scope is started to creep or when they found it variation from the baseline.

Gantt Chart contains milestone which represents major Date and Deliverable. The actual Data is compared with the baseline to identify the variation, which task is falling behind and become overdue. Must watch costs. Time is money in project management. Pay attention to the time spent on each activity  help to keep the cost in check

Managing constraint is all about  Tradeoff. As a PM, your job is to balance the triple constraint and manage customer expectations. Adding more features will stretch time or cost, so a trade-off is needed. If all the requirements are not identified at the early stage of the project, then it is difficult to add new requirements at a later stage. Change to the scope is easier at the initial phase, risk of scope change is high at the final stage. From a good  Scope, a good estimate is created by identifying all the tasks required to create the product. if the time estimate is accurate then the cost estimate will also good. Any change required to the Cost needs to Communicated as early as possible to make the customer happy.


Hope this ticket is informative. If you have any question please leave a comment












Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *