The main component of the triple constraint theory is that scope, time and cost are interwoven aspects of any project that you are working on. When one changes the other two must be changed as well. This means if the budget for the project changes the timeline and the scope must immediately change as well. If the timeline changes the scope and cost must change and if the scope changes the cost and timeline must change. It is impossible to change any of the factors without affecting a change on the others. As the project manager, you have to manage each of these aspects and the concessions or changes that happen in each.
Because it is present in all projects, triple constraints are also referred to as the project management triangle with each of the three different aspects referring to an angle or line of the triangle. Together, they represent the most important factors in completing your project properly as everything else falls within these three broad categories. But there’s a little bit more to each of them then you might think about, so let’s take a little bit closer look at just what you’re getting into.
The scope refers to all the work necessary to complete a project. It must be identified during the planning stage by using a work breakdown structure. If the scope is not properly defined early in the project, it can expand during the execution phase due to unplanned activities. This is known as scope creep, and might cause projects to fail. The scope management process helps keep this constraint in check.
Project managers must estimate the time required to complete a project. To do so, they use tools such as PERT charts or the critical path method. This must be done during the initiation and planning phases of the project life cycle to develop a schedule covering the duration of all the activities. Once the execution phase begins, the status of the project must be monitored to make changes to the schedule baseline. The project management process responsible for this constraint is schedule management.
There are many costs associated with a project. Project managers are responsible for estimating, budgeting and controlling costs so the project can be completed within the approved budget. All of this falls under the process known as cost management.
==The Importance of the Triple Constraint==
Clearly, the triple constraint is crucial to any project. And it’s critical to remember that the three points of this triangle are always influencing one another. If there is a setback in time, then there will have to be an adjustment in either scope or cost. The same being true for the other points. It’s the duty of the project manager to always keep these constraints in check.