What are the limitations in managing projects?

Constraints in project management are like roadblocks and bottlenecks that slow down the flow of work. It’s important to distinguish between removable roadblocks and permanent or semi-permanent constraints, and to optimize and exploit constraints to increase throughput. Always focus on the slowest trade or zone and make sure to remove roadblocks and elevate your game to keep the project moving. Remember, constraints need to be moved around and optimized, while roadblocks need to be removed. Constraints are what limiting your movement, and optimizing them is key to keeping the project flowing. #ProjectManagement 🚧🔄

How Constraints Are Used in Different Industries 🛠️

In the construction industry, constraints are known as predecessors, roadblocks, or problems that hinder the flow of work. The concept of constraints was popularized by the book ‘The Goal’ by Eli Goldratt, and has been widely adopted in the industry. In manufacturing, product flow is hindered by constraining factors at fixed stations, while in construction, it is the interaction between trades and the fixed product that creates limitations. Distinguishing between roadblocks and constraints is crucial to avoid frustrating trade partners and optimizing project pace.

IndustryTypes of Constraints
ConstructionRoadblocks, constraints, problems
ManufacturingConstraining factors at fixed stations

The Theory of Constraints and Project Management 📚

The theory of constraints emphasizes finding and exploiting bottlenecks or constraints in a system in order to optimize throughput. Constraints in construction primarily manifest as trade processes, zones, or physical locations which limit productivity. Once constraints are identified, they are optimized, non-constraints are subordinated, and processes are elevated to increase throughput. The repeated process ensures continuous optimization and focus on the slowest trades or zones.

"The pace of your project is not determined by the speed of the fastest trades, but by the pace of your slowest trades."

Implementing the Theory of Constraints in Project Management 📈

Implementation of the theory of constraints in project management involves maximizing the throughput by prioritizing and optimizing the slowest trade processes or zones. It also entails subordinating non-constraints to constraints, optimizing resources, and repeating the process to continuously improve project pace. By focusing on the constraints and removing roadblocks, construction projects can achieve optimal efficiency and flow.

Key Takeaways:

  • Constraints in construction can be trade processes, zones, or physical locations.
  • Prioritizing and optimizing constraints is crucial for project efficiency.
  • Differentiating between roadblocks and constraints is essential for smooth project flow.


Understanding and effectively managing constraints in project management is essential for optimizing project pace and ensuring smooth workflow. By adopting the theory of constraints and differentiating between constraints and roadblocks, construction projects can improve efficiency and deliver projects on time. Emphasizing the identification and optimization of constraints in construction can lead to greater productivity and success in project management.


  • What are the types of constraints in construction?
  • How can the theory of constraints be applied to project management?
  • What is the difference between constraints and roadblocks in construction projects?

Finally: Roadblocks and Constraints 🚧

  • Constraints refer to permanent or semi-permanent limitations within the construction industry that need to be optimized and worked around.
  • Roadblocks are temporary obstacles that hinder trade processes and should be removed for optimal project flow.

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Jason Schroeder
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