Categorized | Management

Defining project success

Project success is one of the key deliverables for any project manager and is typically defined at the outset. For many projects this tends to be delivering the scope against the schedule and meeting the cost objectives laid out in the business case. Many would argue that utilizing project management methodologies will increase the likelihood of this success.

However with many projects apparently failing to deliver success and with many projects not delivering physical assets that can be empirically measured (business change projects for example) does the criteria of project success require re-evaluation.

For many projects success will be in varying degrees. As stated the projects that don’t deliver a tangible asset success is often difficult to define. For many businesses delivering change this often takes the form of an improved trend within key performance indicators many of which are subjective at best.

As project managers, we have all seen projects that go over budget, slipping their schedule but still completing their deliverable. For many businesses it is the deliverable itself that is important. The fact that the project has slipped the schedule or gone over budget, providing neither is not dramatic, is irrelevant.

Best practice project management methodologies would have you define the project success at the project outset. These will tend to be the critical success factors that are the true measure of project performance.

However while all these measures are important should other forms of success such as governance, risk management and transitioning learning into the organization be equally important? At the end of the day what is important to businesses with regards to success will vary. Projects will continue to deliver against scope but be seen as failures in terms of schedule or budget however they alone do not prove evidence of achievement.

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