If you’ve asked a project sponsor which of the triple constraints (scope, schedule or cost) is the most important for their project, then you already know their answer, right? They will tell you that ALL of them are VERY important! This is a fair response, but as a project manager you need the sponsor to provide additional guidance to help you manage their project.

The best way to do this is to have the sponsor prioritize the constraints for their project. When you do this, you’ll find the project team will be empowered to effectively make project-related decisions by referring to a project priority statement. Simply put the priorities into the following project priority statement after the sponsor prioritizes the importance of the scope, budget and cost.

  • Since we must meet the outlined project <Priority 1>
  • We will adjust the <Priority 2> as needed
  • And will accept the resulting <Priority 3>

An example might be that the project budget cannot be changed no matter what, but the schedule is flexible. So, the priority statement would read like this: Since we must meet the outlined project Cost, we will adjust the Scope as needed and will accept the resulting Schedule.

You may ask what about quality? Generally, quality is not considered a negotiable constraint and the project team should focus on high quality deliverables while utilizing the project priority statement.