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Assumptions and constraints



Assumptions

These are what the Project Manager expects to have or are easily accessible for the project.
If they are not, then key project milestones may be missed, for example, late completion date etc.

Key decisions are made based on particular assumptions, for example, the existence or prediction of particular exchange rates.
If these items change then any plans based upon them may be invalid.

Constraints

These could have a negative effect on the project.
They are often not under the control of the Project Manager and tend to be imposed.
For example, the personnel department may have an embargo on recruitment.
Whilst the project plan will have been prepared with these in mind, these constraints may still prove to be the undoing of the project.
Budget limits are another.

Cost

There will be other areas that act as a restraint to the project.
Obvious ones may be budget and the overall time schedule for the completion of the entire project or particular parts.
Others may include an embargo on the recruitment of even temporary staff.
At the early stages of a project the accuracy of a budget may well be poor only getting better as the project is ‘firmed up’ once more data is available.

A method of risk assessment may be helpful here.
This is covered in more detail in 'The Complete Risk Management package'
Also, see the later section on Estimation.

However, all of this information, together with any caveats should be in the Project Notebook document.

Resources

Close attention should be paid to the necessary skill set for the project.
If it doesn’t exist internally then the use of external contractors or consultants may provide additional worries, for example, cost, training, monitoring etc.

External consultants may prove useful for skills lacking in many areas, for example, resource, technology expertise or facilities.
When considering external consultants for any part of the project give thought to the following:

  • Is the activity so critical that the skill and monitoring of external consultants could prove detrimental?
  • Do you have agreed deliverables and penalties?
  • Are they a partner or supplier?
  • What is their agenda?
  • Could you do it cheaper yourself?

There may well be other aspects that need careful consideration.

Non - PRINCE2 information