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19 Types of Project Constraint

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A project constraint is a definite and inflexible limitation or restriction on a project. All constraints are tradeoffs. If you constrain budget, the project may be low quality. If you constrain time, you may face risks if the project is rushed. If you constrain risk, the project may be slow and expensive. In some cases, the constraints of a project are impossible. It is easy to see this in an extreme example such the constraints that a building cost $1 and be completed in one day with no risk. The following are common types of project constraint.

Business Constraint

Business constraints include anything that the business can't change that affects a project. For example, a business may have commitments to partners, customers or regulators.


A limited budget is an extremely common constraint.


An imposed design approach or condition that is beyond the project to change.

Due Diligence

Due diligence is the level of care, judgement and investigation that can be reasonably expected of an organization or professional. As due diligence is a legal requirement or professional ethic it generally can't be skipped to expedite a project.


A limit or restriction on a facility such as a data center.

Human Resources

Staffing constraints such as a fixed size team.


Use of existing infrastructure that has constraints such as capacity limitations, speed or functionality.


Laws, regulations or agreements that restrict project options.


The imposed requirement to use a particular approach such as a project management methodology.

Organizational Constraint

An organizational constraint such as the need to share resources with functional managers.

Physical Constraint

A physical constraint such as the size of land or floor space available in a data center.

Process Constraint

A requirement to adhere to a process such as a budgeting process with cut-off dates.


Procurement practices, procedures or processes that must be followed.


A quality condition or specification that is a mandatory requirement.

Resource Constraint

Resource constraints such as the power capacity of a data center.

Risk Tolerance

The amount of risk that the sponsor is willing to take on.

Scope Constraint

The minimum scope of a project such as a particular set of requirements.

Technical Constraint

An imposed technology constraint that's beyond the authority of the project to change such as a platform that must be used.

Time Constraint

A date that must be met.


Project constraints are limitations and restrictions that are placed on a project in order to give it shape and direction. These are designed to be foundational such that they aren't supposed to change. As such, requirements such as functions and features are generally not considered constraints.
Overview: Project Constraint
A definite and fixed limitation or restriction on a project.
Related Concepts
Next: Project Assumptions
More about project management:
Acceptance Criteria
Acceptance Testing
Actual Cost
Basis Of Estimate
Behavioral Requirements
Burndown Chart
Change Control
Change Control Board
Change Fatigue
Change Request
Concept Note
Cone Of Uncertainty
Corrective Action
Cost Baseline
Cost Contingency
Cost Control
Cost Overrun
Cost Variance
Defect Density
Definition Of Done
Document Control
Earned Value
Estimate At Completion
Estimate To Complete
Feasibility Analysis
Fudge Factor
Full-Time Equivalent
Human Factors
Issue Management
Lead Time
Lessons Learned
Level Of Effort
Opportunity Study
Out Of Scope
Parametric Estimate
Phased Implementation
Planned Value
Program Management
Project Charter
Project Communication
Project Complexity
Project Concept
Project Controls
Project Failure
Project Goals
Project Management
Project Metrics
Project Planning
Project Productivity
Project Proposal
Project Risk
Regression Testing
Requirements Quality
Return On Investment
Risk Register
Schedule Baseline
Schedule Chicken
Scope Baseline
Scope Creep
Set Up To Fail
Smoke Testing
Stakeholder Management
Statement Of Work
Story Points
Use Case
User Stories
Variance Analysis
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