Do you know what the difference between Project Assumptions, Constraints and Dependencies is?
As a young Project Manager I was always confused about 3 Project Management terms. I was confused about the meaning of Project Assumptions, Project Constraints and Project Dependencies. I could not differentiate one from the other. I used to think that it hardly makes a difference if one term is replaced with another.
I have learned many things in professional life since my early days. However, when I interact with many other Project Management Practitioners, I can sense that similar kind of confusion confounds them. Let me try to bring some clarity around these simple looking, confusing terms. Believe me, they are simple English words. They have been made difficult by Project Management Experts.
In this post I will talk only about Project Assumptions. I have written other two posts on Project Constraints and Project Dependencies. After reading all three posts, you would be able to understand the finer points about these terms and recognize the difference. These three terms have immense utility in Project Management if they are used appropriately.
What are Project Assumptions?
According to PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition, Project Assumption is “A factor in planning process that is considered to be true, real or certain often without any proof or demonstration”
Another definition could be “Project Assumptions are events or circumstances that are expected to occur during the project life-cycle”.
It simply means that some things are supposed to be true. We, as human beings, work on some presumptions and suppositions. Sometimes these Project Assumptions come out to be true while at other time…Alas! they prove to be false.
Let’s understand Project Assumptions through an example.
Only time will tell if the above Project Assumption holds true. However, much before that, Project Plan is prepared based on similar Project Assumptions. Project Team must do a complete Analysis before documenting the Project Assumptions and preparing the Project Plan. Let us talk about few key points which can help in analysis of Project Assumptions.