Budget cost

• Desired performance at technical or specification level

• Quality standards as defined by customers or users

In experienced organizations, the four preceding parameters have been extended to include the following:

• With minimal or mutually agreed upon scope changes

• Without disturbing the organization's corporate culture or values

• Without disturbing the organization's usual work flow

These last three parameters deserve further comment.

Organizations that eventually achieve excellence are committed to quality and up-front planning so that minimal scope changes are required as the project progresses. Those scope changes that are needed must be approved jointly by both the customer and the contractor. A well-thought-out process for handling scope changes is in place in such organizations. Even in large profit-making, project-driven industries, such as aerospace, defense, and large construction, tremendous customer pressure can be expected to curtail any "profitable" scope changes introduced by the contractor.

Most organizations have well-established corporate cultures that have taken years to build. On the other hand, project managers may need to develop their own subcultures for their projects, particularly when the projects will require years to finish. Such temporary project cultures must be developed within the limitations of the larger corporate culture. The project manager should not expect senior officers of the company to allow the project manager free rein.

The same limitations affect organizational work flow. Most project managers working in organizations that are only partially project-driven realize that line managers in their organizations are committed to providing continuous support to the company's regular functional work. Satisfying the needs of time-limited projects may only be secondary. Project managers are expected to keep the welfare of their whole companies in mind when they make project decisions.

For companies to reach excellence in project management, executives must learn to define project success in terms of both what is good for the project and what is good for the organization.

Executives can support project managers by reminding them of this two-part responsibility by:

• Encouraging project managers to take on nonproject responsibilities, such as administrative activities

• Providing project managers with information on the company's operations and not just information pertaining to their assigned projects

• Supporting meaningful dialogue among project managers

• Asking whether decisions made by project managers are in the best interest of the company as a whole

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