Best practices for using constraints and constraint logs

In our latest product release earlier this month, we improved Hoylu’s constraint functionality and added a new constraint log. This has been one of our most-requested enhancements, and for good reason—effective constraint management and analysis is key to successful project outcomes. 

What are constraints in construction planning?

Constraints and constraint logs are key tools in effective construction project planning and management. Identifying constraints early on, eliminating or optimizing around them, and tracking their resolution and impact are all ways that the use of constraints can contribute to better project results.  Constraints are typically defined as factors that restrict a project’s progress. The term “roadblock” is often used interchangeably with “constraint” (though construction management expert Jason Schroeder makes a compelling case for using these terms to define separate categories).   Construction project constraints can take the following forms: 
  • Resource constraints: Limitations related to labor, equipment, and materials.  
  • Schedule constraints: Project milestones, deadlines, and dependencies.  
  • Budget constraints: Constraints related to project costs and budget allocations.  
  • Regulatory constraints: Permits, approvals, and compliance requirements.  
  • Weather constraints: Significant weather events and even predictable seasonal weather patterns can restrict a project’s progress. 
  • Site constraints: These include site conditions, access restrictions, and environmental considerations.  
  • Quality constraints: Quality standards and specifications that work must meet to be accepted.  
  • Risk constraints: Potential risks and uncertainties that can affect the project.  

The importance of a constraint log

A constraint log is a designated sheet, online log, or board where constraints can be registered and tracked. Each constraint entered in the log should include a description, a person assigned responsible for the constraint, the date the constraint was identified, the date by which the constraint must be resolved, the date resolution is promised, and the actual date on which the constraint was resolved.  

There are many benefits to consistently maintaining a constraint log. These include: 

  • Greater visibility: A constraint log provides a centralized location for documenting and tracking all project constraints. This ensures that all stakeholders have visibility and can work to resolve them. 
  • More proactive management: By identifying and documenting constraints early in the project, they can be addressed before they escalate into larger issues. This can help prevent or minimize delays, cost overruns, and other negative impacts on the project. 
  • Improved resource optimization: Identifying constraints related to labor, equipment, materials, and other resources allows project managers to allocate resources efficiently and avoid bottlenecks. 
  • Better risk management: Many constraints are associated with risks to the project. By documenting these constraints in a log, these risks can be better assessed and managed, reducing their impact. 
  • More accurate scheduling: Constraints often have implications for the project schedule. By tracking constraints in a centralized log, teams can better manage the project schedule and make informed decisions to keep the project on track. 
  • Stronger budget control: Constraints can have cost implications for the project, so by documenting cost-related constraints in a log, project teams can monitor expenses, identify cost overruns, and take corrective action to control costs. 
  • Higher compliance and quality: Constraints related to regulatory requirements, quality standards, and specifications are critical for ensuring compliance and delivering high-quality work. A constraint log helps in monitoring these constraints and ensuring they are addressed appropriately. 

How are constraints used in Hoylu?

Hoylu’s new constraint log has enhanced formatting and filtering options, providing a clear overview of constraints within the workspace. The log captures all constraints, even those not directly included in the plan, and enables filtering by various criteria such as team or individual assignee. Constraints are also included in the weekly work plan for improved visibility and more accurate planning. 

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