Defining Project Success

In the previous section, we defined project success as the completion of an activity within the constraints of time, cost, and performance. This was the definition that has pertained for the past twenty years or so. Today, the definition of project success has been modified to include completion:

• Within the allocated time period

• Within the budgeted cost

• At the proper performance or specification level

• With acceptance by the customer/user

• When you can use the customer's name as a reference

• With minimum or mutually agreed upon scope changes

• Without disturbing the main work flow of the organization

• Without changing the corporate culture

The last three elements require further explanation. Very few projects are completed within the original scope of the project. Scope changes are inevitable and have the potential to destroy not only the morale on a project, but the entire project itself. Scope changes must be held to a minimum and those that are required must be approved by both the project manager and the customer/user.

Project managers must be willing to manage (and make concessions/trade-offs, if necessary) such that the company's main work flow is not altered. Most project managers view themselves as self-employed entrepreneurs after project go-ahead, and would like to divorce their project from the operations of the parent organization. This is not always possible. The project manager must be willing to manage within the guidelines, policies, procedures, rules, and directives of the parent organization.

All corporations have corporate cultures, and even though each project may be inherently different, the project manager should not expect his assigned personnel to deviate from cultural norms. If the company has a cultural standard of openness and honesty when dealing with customers, then this cultural value should remain in place for all projects, regardless of who the customer/user is or how strong the project manager's desire for success is.

As a final note, it should be understood that simply because a project is a success does not mean that the company as a whole is successful in its project management endeavors. Excellence in project management is defined as a continuous stream of successfully managed projects. Any project can be driven to success through formal authority and strong executive meddling. But in order for a continuous stream of successful projects to occur, there must exist a strong corporate commitment to project management, and this commitment must be visible.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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