Introduction to Project Management

Elements of a Project

Before going deeply in each stage, let’s come back to some elements of a project. Another important characteristic of a project is identified by its three main elements – scope, time, and cost.

When you ask yourself “what is the project about?”, the answer generally represents its scope. In the case of the community market, for example, the scope means holding the event, and in the case of the construction of a school, it is about delivering the school. In that way, the scope is the sum of final activities deliverables coming from the project, whether it is a product or a service. In that way, since it happens to clarify what activities need to be done, it is generally the first element to be outlined on a project.

However, when you ask yourself “how much time is the project going to take?”, the answer represents its time, which means, the sum of time required for the completion of all the stages of a project.

Finally, when you ask yourself “which resources is the project going to use?” and “how much does it cost?”, the answer represents the cost or budget needed to complete the entire project. Here it is important to highlight that this element is not restricted to traditional financial resources, namely money. It can include other resources such as human resources.

Link: Human Resources – Community Mobilization in Crisis (

These elements are interconnected in a way that they constitute a triple constraint. This means that if one of these elements is restricted or expanded, the other two will need to be accommodated.

To understand this triple constraint, let’s apply it in one specific activity in a project. In the case of the Estrutural Committee from the Tempo de Plantar movement, for example, the group needed to dig 85 deep holes and prepare them to receive the seeds.

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As you can see, the activity of digging the holes (scope) would take more than 4 hours (time) for a group of 10 volunteers (cost) to complete. Since their resources were expanded, the same activity was completed with less time, as well as the project. If the opposite happens, in other words, if the resources are reduced or limited, the community would need more time to complete the project.


In your e-portfolio,

a) Have your community already had to deal with time-cost-scope constraints?

b) How did you decide which element of the project was the one taking the burden?

c) Does this decision reflect any characteristic of your community?

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