The secret of (defining) success

Defining project success seems simple--achieve the triple constraint and then a project is successful. Or is it? This article features a principal customer engineer for a semiconductor foundry and a university deputy director discussing how to measure success on projects. It explains how in traditional project management training, success was determined by achieving time, budget and scope. One opinion states that the true success of a project depends on whether the main objectives are met, which can only occur if the right objectives and deliverables were specified. It also suggests dividing project success accountabilities among the project funder, the project owner and the project manager. This way the project owner's success is determined by the extent to which benefits have been realized, while funders look at the success of their investment in the project. The article then summarizes benefits realization, noting they may not provide measurable benefits. Next, it looks at sequencing and the importance of defining project objectives in a measurable way. It lists other benefits characteristics including important, timely and plausible. While different stakeholders often have different measures for success, the project manager can negotiate among stakeholders and drive consensus.
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