Project Success

Posted by chiefworker on 20 August 2009

In the domain of Project Management, it is important to reflect on what is meant by project success. An article on Gantthead says technically a project can be successful if the answers to the following questions is a YES:

  • Has the project satisfied the business requirements of the primary stakeholders?

  • Were the deliverables produced on time and within the budget (as amended by formal change control)?

  • Do the business owners believe the project was successful?

  • Has the project delivered the business value promised?

Well, we are not convinced.

We have found, that in most situations, projects have secondary stakeholders who are not business owners or direct users but other business people, peers, superiors and indeed the general public.

Unfortunately, if these groups think a project has failed, then very often it becomes the "believed truth".

In today's world, where information and opinion moves at light speed, the "believed truth" can have quite a major impact. Indeed such truths can become stories and turn into self-perpetuating "facts".

So we think that the management of the above dynamic is critical to ensure that a project is successful - and seen and believed to be successful, particularly amongst its secondary and even tertiary stakeholder community.

This, in our view comes down to communication and expectation management - both internally and externally.

The project communication needs to be set up so that it lends itself to multi modal and multi target audience communication to obtain buy in, from the onset, through the project and beyond the project. All the standard methodologies (PMI, PRIMCE2, IBM etc.) tell us how crucial project communication is, but we have seen this aspect of projects often the most neglected and not close to the heart of the owners and sponsors. This is an area that the Project Manager must drive incessantly.

What do you think?

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