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  • Templates for Project Assumptions, Constraints, Dependencies, and Critical Success Factors
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Assumptions

This template is used to capture project assumptions, which are factors that we make to be true that are not proven to be so.  Assumptions are commonly made to support a project decision or answer a question when all of the desired facts are not available.

 

Why assumptions are important:

Project Managers very seldom have all of the necessary facts to make a fully informed decision.  If Project Managera waited for all of the "real" facts to come in before making a decision, they would be waiting for a very long time and their projects would essentially stall.  Therefore, we often must make assumptions to support the decisions that are necessary to keep the project moving forward.  However, when a decision that is based on an assumption is made, it also important for the Project Manager to track the assumption because losing track of it can easily lead to schedule and/or budget overruns.  Consider that:

  • Critical decisions are often made based on assumptions
  • If an assumption is later shown to be false, the decision that was based on it has a high probability of being wrong.
  • If a decision is wrong, then all subsequent tasks that were based on it probably now need to be changed.

ID

Assumption

Date Made

Validated

 

[Enter a description of the assumption and reason it is being made]

[Enter date made]

[Yes/No]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Constraints

This template is used to capture project constraints, which are anything that limits the team’s options in achieving project objectives (scope, schedule, budget).

 

Why constraints are important:

It would be nice if project teams could do anything they wanted, take as long as they like, and have access to unlimited resources!  Unfortunately, the reality for most projects is far different from this scenario.  Project Managers need to operate within the real-world project environment of their organizations.  To do otherwise, would likely lead to project failure and possibly even the dismissal of the Project Manager!  Constraints keep Project Managers in tune with their business/technical environment and guide the team toward solution options that reside within the constraints.

 

ID

Constraint

Active

 

[Enter a description of the constraint]

[Yes/No]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dependencies

When we think of tasks, we realize that some cannot start before the others are finished. That is, some tasks are dependent on the others.  This simple exercise illustrates the nature of dependencies:


Task NameDependent On
Choose a place on the wall-
Buy the screws-
Choose the picture-
Drill a holeChoosing a place on the wall
Screw in the screwsBuying the screws and drilling a hole
Hang the pictureScrewing in the screws and choosing the picture


Here’s what a sample schedule can look like:

 

Critical Success Factors

CSF's are the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if we are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for our project.  By identifying the CSF's you can create a common point of reference to help you direct and measure the success of your business or project.

As an example:

ObjectiveCritical Success Factors
Gain market share locally of 25%

Increase competitiveness versus other stores

Attract new customers

Achieve fresh supplies of “farm to customer” in 24 hours for 75% of productsSustain successful relationships with local suppliers
Sustain a customer satisfaction rate of 98%Retain staff and keep up customer-focused training
Expand product range to attract more customersSource new products locally
Extend store space to accommodate new products and customers

Secure financing for expansion

Manage building work and any disruption to the business

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