The Repercussions of Poor Constraints Removal Processes

Constraints are defined as anything that hinders progress toward the end goal of a work package—in other words, anything that stops or slows your field workers from doing their planned work for the day. A constraint can be any number of things, including having to procure permits, failure to order materials, not having proper tools at the site, waiting on drawing approvals and more.


When constraints aren’t anticipated and removed in a timely manner, there can be significant repercussions on a work package. In this article, we will discuss the potential consequences of not planning for and removing constraints, as well as how you can incorporate constraints removal into your project planning process to ensure these constraints are avoided.

What happens when constraints aren’t identified and removed?

Different constraints can result in a variety of negative outcomes. For example, when permits aren’t secured on time, the entire project is held up. When materials aren’t there on time, workers can’t begin certain tasks. Constraints cause work package delays, which in turn lead to labor waste, increased costs and unhappy customers.


A single crew delayed one hour could cost up to $500, along with disruption of all related downstream activities. If overtime is implemented to get back on schedule, the $500 could turn to $750 and studies prove that extended overtime negatively impacts productivity. When crews feel pressure to make up work they tend to take short cuts, increasing the risk for injuries and/or poor quality.


When constraints aren’t properly identified and removed ahead of time, work packages can fall behind, run over budget, increase safety risks and reduce work quality.

How can contractors mitigate risk associated with repercussions?

Every contractor realizes the work will go smoother if the crews have everything they need before they start the work. The problem is that most contractors do not have a standard process to ensure constraints are in fact removed ahead of time. That’s where planning comes into play.


While not all constraints can be anticipated or controlled, such as bad weather, the key is to focus on what can be controlled.


Explore the constraints that can be controlled, such as how long it typically takes to order and receive a material shipment or procure a permit. Anticipate these constraints in advance within the work project plan and assign someone responsible for removing them by a certain date. This will ensure appropriate time is allotted to avoiding those constraints and preventing work package delays and budget overruns.


This planning process can be immensely simplified using software, such as a mobile labor management app. For instance, using Trestles Labor Management System, which embeds and institutionalizes Last Planner® and Advanced Work Packaging methodologies, contractors can document constraints and plan time to work through them to avoid running over budget and behind schedule.

Get started today

Ready to get started anticipating and removing constraints? Incorporate this checklist as part of your project planning to get started right away.


With this resource, you can document the constraint, choose a target date for resolution, who is responsible for resolving it and the status of the constraint.


Adding constraints removal to current project planning techniques can help eliminate costly delays and avoid unnecessary repercussions—and the best project teams prioritize this task to ensure their projects run as smoothly as possible with minimal waste.

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