Project constraints are the limitations of a project which you cannot do anything about as a PM.. These constraints should be identified in the project initiation. Basically the project sponsor / customer or the senior management decide the constraints of a project. (Ex: You are getting a software project which you should make available for the 2005 Olympic Opening Ceremony.. Its very simple to identify that “Time” is the main constraint of this project, if you miss the target., no use of doing this project)
But what will happen if everything in a project is a constraint.????. Have you ever faced such situation??? For me its always the case.. :-)
Time is a constraint, Budget is a constraint, and people are constraints… Where will you stand??? Constraints are decided by somebody else., But from the time you are allocated to the project as a PM it's your face the people see.
In this case I always ask myself., Do I honestly think whether this project will be a success?? What will I do if my answer is “NO” I have to get off the train.. But will I catch another train?? And when.?????. So I m left without a choice.
Every customer wants the best product tomorrow, and it may cost less than a dollar. that’s the reason why they outsource projects. :-)
You are a lucky PM , if your top managers have a more realistic view of the matter. They know constraints must leave some room to operate. This doesn't mean they tell you. :-) (I saw this somewhere else)
There are times we cant do anything about the constraint.. Specially when the time is a constraint., But I personally believe you can always negotiate with the stakeholders if you think other constraints make your project impossible. Remember Pming is all about negotiating J But its very important to have a closer look of the defined constraints while project is moving.. We can use the formulas we learn under EVM to monitor these constraints technicaly and be in alert.