Assumptions and Constraints Analysis - PMP Exam

Assumptions and constraints analysis is a data analysis technique involving an analysis of what assumptions we are making and the constraints our project has to get information on how to minimize potential risks. Using risk identification tools, your team can find what could go wrong, the likelihood it could happen, and how much it could impact your project. 

After understanding the risks your project involves, you can be smart about your decisions and how to stay out of danger by being aware of risks.

Assumptions and constraints analysis is a method to be used in the following project performance domains;

It is very useful as a tool and technique in risk identification process and planning stakeholder engagement.

Assumptions in Project Management

An assumption is formed by applying your past experience and knowledge to new and unknown circumstances. If it's never been done before, you must expect that there may be unforeseen obstacles. Making assumptions at the outset can provide guidelines for how the project will perform, but it's important to remember that assumptions are wrong much of the time. For example, sometimes opposites can be at play, one of which can lead to a failure or success. due to these contradictions, assumptions should be prioritized for this project.

Differing opinions can come from people not having all the information required to make an accurate decision on a topic. For example, in order to do research on a topic that they are unfamiliar with, they will need to do some gathering. So they would conduct research through many different types of materials, such as books, journals, and websites. This process would help them better understand the topic they are researching, so they could make better decisions about what information to include in their report. 

On some occasions, a person may not know much about their topic and so may seek help from people who know more about it than they do (for example, from their professors). 

Constraints in Project Management

Basically, constraints are the limitations you have with regard to resources such as money or time. You need to know what those limitations are so that you don't spend too much and then run out of resources later. A constraint can be a positive and a negative; for example, you may only have a limited budget for marketing your product, meaning you wouldn't have to worry about budget because of your budget's nature. 

One the other hand, a negative constraint might be giving yourself five days to complete a project instead of ten, which means you will have less time to work on it than someone who gets ten days. This is something to keep in mind so that, if you ever run into difficulties with funding or time, it won't lead to a failure in execution. 

There are many types of assumptions and constraints and they should be analyzed separately to see whether or not they pose a risk to a project. Risk is any situation that may pose a threat to the future of the business. Risks come in many different types, including technical risks, political risks, financial risks, and market risks. 

Managers, stakeholders, and members of the team make assumptions during the course of a project. For example, one assumption you might make is that your objective is to reduce absenteeism within a department by 30%. If you assume you have no control over that metric, then you're making an assumption. It may not be true; you might have control over it. perhaps you have tools to use which can cut down on absenteeism that may be excessive or unjustified in order to achieve your overall goal. 

The problem with never re-evaluating any of your assumptions—good or bad—is that it may lead to slowdowns in your planning process, if you're unable to identify and accommodate unseen risks. In other words, not reconsidering all of your preconceptions means you're going to be overlooking potentially valuable options. Unless you realize these issues exist, you won't know how to make them better. Furthermore, you'll assume things are normal when they might not be. 

It's important to ensure that your projects are flexible enough so they're still possible if certain things don't work out as planned. If not, you may be in for some major hiccups. A project manager should keep track of their project's assumptions as they move forward so they can re-evaluate the accuracy of their position as they work through the various phases of a project. 

See also: 

Trend Analysis

Decision Tree Analysis

Root Cause Analysis

Alternatives Analysis

Assumption Log