As a project manager, project management constraints are not a strange or novel idea. One way or another, you come across constraints that limit productivity due to certain limitations and boundaries. The constraints are classified into three primary categories: time, cost, and scope. Understanding these constraints is important for ensuring successful project completion, as they can significantly impact the project’s outcome. We discuss the project management constraints list and how you can overcome them.

What are 3 project management constraints?

There are three project management constraints: time, cost, and scope. As we can tell, each constraint is independent of the other, affecting project management separately.


Time in project management is about the duration of the project and the schedule for completing each task or activity. Project managers set the start and end date of the project, the time required to complete each task, and the overall time allotted to complete the project. Sometimes due to funding or material shortage, the project gets delayed. The project delay means cost overrun and missed deadlines.

To overcome this project management constraint, project managers should develop a comprehensive project schedule that sets the tasks in order and designates time to complete them. Some tasks are critical and intertwined with larger projects, and project managers must ensure they don’t face time delays.


Cost refers to the budget allocated for the project, such as labor, materials, equipment, and other resources. If any of these isn’t available or within budget, it can cost the project. Costs are not static, so project expenses require continuous monitoring.

Project managers can make a detailed plan for associated expenses when starting a project. Also, unforeseen project management constraints should be considered, such as unavailability of labor and changing project scope to adjust the project accordingly. In terms of cost-saving scenarios, project managers should also consider the availability of alternative suppliers and raw materials.


Project scope is about the project’s boundaries, such as the deliverables, objectives, and requirements. Sometimes unintended limitations or constraints, such as available resources or complexity, affect the project.

To manage scope constraints effectively, project managers should define a project scope statement that outlines the project’s goals and requirements. It should be defined so that all team members understand the project’s scope and the importance of delivering the required deliverables within the specified constraints.


If any of the above three project management constraints are not met, it can affect the project’s outcome. For example, if the project takes longer to complete, it may result in missed opportunities or financial losses. Similarly, if the project goes beyond the allocated budget, it also results in financial losses or, worse, completing the project as planned.

Finally, if the project does not deliver the required deliverables or objectives as per the scope statement, it results in stakeholder dissatisfaction and loss of credibility. Therefore, it becomes imperative that project managers take care of project management constraints in advance to avoid any delay. Project managers with great potential always take care of constraints!

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