How to Manage and Resolve Project Constraints

Project managers and site managers often have to deal with numerous project constraints when working on a construction project. Such constraints often impact the schedule, budget, and quality of the project. However, project managers can overcome such challenges with careful planning and deliver successful projects. This article provides a complete overview of how to manage and resolve such project constraints effectively.

What are Project Constraints?

Project constraints are restrictions that limit the options available to a project manager. Below are some of the most prominent project constraints.

  • Budget: The approved spending limits for the project.
  • Schedule: The timeline allotted for project completion.
  • Resources: Access to construction materials, equipment, laborers, etc.
  • Site: Land conditions, access and space limitations.
  • Quality: Meeting building standards, codes, and regulations.

It is essential to have a clear idea of what all these constraints are. Understanding the types of constraints enables strategic planning to resolve them.

How to Identify Project Constraints Early

One of the most effective ways to manage project constraints is to identify them ahead of time. Here are a few effective tips that can help with identifying project constraints early.

  • Conduct detailed reviews of the project scope and requirements during planning.
  • Thoroughly assess the site and environmental factors.
  • Analyze resource availability and costs.
  • Identify permitting, zoning, or regulatory issues.
  • Revisit estimates and timelines regularly as the project progresses.

Prioritize Project Constraints Before You Fix them

You will not be able to address all project constraints at once. That’s why you need to prioritize them and address them one at a time. Here are some tips that can help you prioritize the project constraints:

  • Impact on safety: Anything compromising safety rises to the top.
  • Effects on the final product: Outcomes related to end quality take precedence.
  • Cost escalations: Major budget overages should be addressed sooner rather than later.
  • Timing issues: Delays affecting critical milestones get prioritized.

Ranking constraints facilitate the balancing act between scope, schedule, cost, and quality.

How to Create a Constraint Management Plan

Adherence to a plan is essential to effectively prioritize tasks and oversee project restrictions, ensuring that nothing is overlooked. Here are some guidelines that you can follow when creating a Constraint Management Plan.

  • Modifying project scope or timeline by reducing non-vital features.
  • Finding alternate resources and materials through different suppliers.
  • Adding labor, equipment, or shifts to compensate for schedule delays.
  • Negotiating the adjustment of mandatory deadlines if possible.

Updating this plan as new constraints emerge enables construction professionals to minimize their impact and keep the project on track for success.

Strategies for Managing Time

Effectively managing competing time demands is key for construction projects. Here are some of the most prominent time management strategies that you can follow.

  • Clearly define the work breakdown structure and sequencing.
  • Developing realistic schedules with buffer room.
  • Monitoring milestones and adjusting as needed.
  • Optimizing resource allocation.
  • Streamlining processes for efficiency.

Following core time management best practices allows projects to progress steadily amidst constraints. It is one of the proven ways to overcome project constraints as well.

Strategies for Managing Costs

Similar to time management, you will also need to pay attention to cost management to overcome all the constraints associated with the project budget. Here are a few strategies that you can follow for it.

  • Leverage historical data to produce sound estimates.
  • Incorporate value engineering early on.
  • Use design-to-cost and life-cycle costing techniques.
  • Manage change orders and contingency funds.
  • Leverage technology and partnerships to control costs.

Strategic cost planning and control yield construction projects completed on-budget. Hence, you can overcome one of the biggest constraints holding you back.

Strategies for Managing Scope

Keeping the unwieldy project scope in check is important to ensure that it doesn’t increase or decrease with time. Here are some useful strategies that you can apply for managing the project scope.

  • Well-defined scope baselines, work breakdowns, and change control
  • Careful, realistic assessments of project objectives
  • Managing stakeholder requests and expectations
  • Saying “no” to scope creep and gold-plating.
  • Monitoring key scope metrics

Disciplined scope management prevents uncontrolled expansion and bloat. It can eventually support the completion of the project.

Strategies for Resource Management

Construction projects rely on optimal resource planning and allocation to succeed. Strategies like just-in-time ordering of materials, leveraging consolidated supplier agreements for bulk discounts, and centralizing procurement processes help streamline workflows. Establishing strategic contingency plans for potential resource shortages or delays empowers teams to quickly respond to disruptions.

Strategies for Quality Management

Quality management is critical for construction excellence. Proactively building in quality control and prevention mechanisms from initial design through project completion avoids costly defects, rework, delays, and safety issues. Key components like statistical process control, Six Sigma principles, ISO standards alignment, and continuous quality improvement cultures drive exceptional results.

Strategies for Conflict Resolution

Disagreements among project stakeholders are commonplace in construction and can quickly derail budgets, schedules, morale, and progress if unresolved. An environment should exist that encourages promptly raising issues before they escalate. Understanding perspectives from all sides, finding common ground, separating people from problems, adhering to objective standards, and seeking creative compromises can restore harmony. Leader mediation focusing on shared goals rather than individual positions also helps.

Project Monitoring and Control

Diligent monitoring and control prevents construction projects from veering off-track. Metrics around schedule, cost, quality, safety, and resource usage offer an early warning system, flagging the need for intervention. Tracking productivity rates, earned value, estimate at completion, total quality metrics, and resource allocation reveals what is working well and what requires mid-course correction.Cloud-based construction software like SwiftcheckIn-EzyBuild includes advanced features to track daily project progress and real-time insights into key metrics like productivity rates and performance ratios to deliver construction projects within schedule without compromising quality or efficiency.

Final Words

As project managers, it is critical to carefully identify and manage project constraints.Appropriate planning and adherence to effective strategies during each stage of the project execution will enable the managers to overcome the challenges effectively. With the right focus and priority-setting, you can deliver exceptional results at all times.