Whether you’re overseeing projects for a government agency, private company, or academic institution, it’s essential to understand how well your team is performing when it comes to making progress on your most pressing projects. Various types and amounts of resources may be devoted to making these projects succeed, making it especially important to ensure that the allocation of those resources is as optimal as possible.
In virtually any project, there are three major constraints that need to be taken into account in the planning process: the scope, cost, and expected timeframe of the project. All three of these factors impact the number of resources that need to be devoted to the project, and without giving these elements the attention they’re due, you may find yourself unable to complete the project, or at least unable to complete it in a way that meets high quality standards.
Project performance measuring techniques, though, can help you use these constraints to your advantage. You need to consider them carefully from the very beginning of the project as they relate to your specific circumstances and continually track them over time to determine whether the project is on track to meet expectations. We’ll explore these constraints and how you can use them to your advantage further in this blog post.
As mentioned previously, a project’s scope, cost, and timeframe are the three broad constraints that need to be considered from the very beginning of the planning process. But what do these mean?
Your project’s scope is what your intended end result looks like. It outlines the quality standards you intend to reach, the number of details that need to be accounted for in order to complete the project successfully, and the objectives that need to be accomplished while paying attention to these elements.
Typically, the cost of the project is fairly self-explanatory; it’s the overall financial expense that your project will lead to for your organization. There are several types of expenses that factor into the overall expense of a project, though, including team member salaries, materials, equipment, facilities, and more.
The timeframe you’re working on outlines the deadline by which all objectives for the project need to be met. A detailed timeline may also account for shorter-term deadlines for each of the individual objectives required to complete the project.
The ultimate value of constraints is that they inherently provide measurable metrics for your team to pay attention to and reach as they make progress toward the end goal of completing a project. Monitoring how your team is performing compared to the constraints outlined before the beginning of the project allows you to begin to get a sense of where the root causes may be of issues that cause your team to use up too many resources or fail to make expected progress on the project.
Project constraints allow you to analyze how certain interdependent processes may be limiting individual and team performance and continually assess the value of both your team and the end result of the project itself. They’re a tool for better understanding the way your team works and the value of the work they’re doing, giving you the information you need to improve performance going forward.
Understanding how to use project constraints to measure and improve performance may be a complex task given the specific circumstances of your team and project. Getting help and dedicated expertise from NFA Consulting can give you the informational resource you need to get the most value out of your team and projects. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.