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Constraints and Assumptions


A constraints is a factor that limit the teams options, limits on time, schedule, resources, cost, scope.


Things that are assumed to be true but that may not be true are termed as Assumptions (e.g. the marketing team needs only MBA pass outs).

Constraints and Assumptions are identified and documented at high-level during project initiation. They are refined and documented in detail as a part of the Define Scope process in project planning. They are inputs to many project management processes.

Assumption analysis is a part of risk management process. The project management plan need to change if constraints change or assumptions are proven wrong. Constraints and assumptions need to be identified, tracked and effectively controlled during the project life cycle.

Project Statement of Work (SOW):

You can think of this document is a long wordy document that has words written in a typical legal language generally agreed between two parties while getting into a business agreement. In projects, the project SOW is created by the customer or a sponsor describing about requirements / needs and scopeHow the project fits into a strategic plan during the Develop project charter process, this document is still at a high level. It only gets refined and further detailed in the project scope statement during project planning.

Charter with Work Under Contract:

All projects have charters. On projects where there are two parties from different organizations, both organizations would create project charters that have different points of view. One organization may focus to achieve a particular product scope while meeting project constraints. Another organization might focus on increasing revenue, enhancing reputation, or gain additional work from the buyer.

Project Management Information System (PMIS):

One of the critical parts of an organization's environment system is its Project Management Information System (PMIS). PMIS include automated tools, such as file sharing spaces, scheduling softwares, analytical statistical softwares, process mapping soft wares, configuration management system, shared workspace for file storage or distribution, and other such systems.

Organizational Process Assets:

Organizational Process Assets are existing processes, procedures, and historical information. They help the project benefit from past company experience. From PMP Exam perspective, it is advisable to think of these as given processes, procedures and historical information. Some are given below:

Historical Information:

Historical information is a record of past projects. It is used to plan and manage future projects, thereby improving the process of project management. Historical information can include:

  • Process Activities

  • Lessons Learned

  • Internal Benchmarks

  • External Benchmarks

  • Dashboards and Reports

  • Risks

  • Assumptions

  • Project Management Plans

  • WBS

  • Correspondence

  • E-mails

  • Resources

Processes, Procedures, and Policies:

Organizations develop processes, procedures, and policies that have been tested over a period of time and have proven to be best practices. Such information is key towards organizational process assets.

Corporate Knowledge Base:

The creation of a corporate knowledge database of historical information and lessons learned is the responsibility of the organization. For the PMP exam, please assume that the organization has information such as historical records and lessons learned from previous projects and that the company has incorporated those records into an indexed corporate knowledge base available to all. 

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