In these austere times we cannot afford to waste resources $ and peoples time on failures. We need to pick the right projects and we need them to be successful.
So if projects are still failing how can we (project management professionals) significantly improve the chances of success beyond the definitions and guidance written in the BoK's and Best Practices?
I believe one thing we can do is create a common understanding of what is meat of project success and how we can significantly improve the project outcome to enable it to be successful.
Hence the subject for May will be to explore "Project Success" and how do we demonstrate it to the project stakeholders (which group care about what measures).
The sources for this months posts are:
Reinventing Project Management: The Diamond Approach to successful growth and innovation - published by Harvard Business Review - Authors Shenhar and Dvir
Project Planning and Project Success—The 25% Solution: - published by CRC - Author Pedro Serrador, PHDBoth books are available from Amazon and Project Planning and Project Success is available on Books 24x7 if you have access.
Over the next four weeks we will be exploring the definitions of success, the how the different PM processes and tools contribute to success with the intention of identifying the attributes of project management that greatly increases the chances for success.
I will be publishing weekly and at the end of the month I will create a summary of the findings and comments.
The first question is, what is project success?
- Is it delivering the project to satisfy the iron triangle (Cost, Time, Scope/Quality) ?
- or is it meeting or exceeding stakeholder expectations and if so which stakeholders are the most important?
In legal terms, on-time, within budget and delivered what was specified is classed as success. The Body's of knowledge used this as a mantra for years, however gradually they are moving to include some additional attributes of success. Such as "Customer Satisfaction", "Achieving the business outcome in the business case".
We often hear the project supplier use the words "the product was delivered on-time, within the cost and to your specifications". This may be true, but from the customer perspective still the project is seen as a failure because it doesn't really meet their needs.
Dimensions of Success Beyond the Iron TriangleIn "Reinventing Project Management" Chapter 2 Shenhar and Dvir identify five main dimensions of project success:
- Project Efficiency (on-time, within budget and to specification)...
- Impact on the Customer
- Impact on the Team
- Business and direct success
- Preparation for the future
- Project efficiency: Meeting cost, time, and scope goals; and
- Project success: Meeting wider business and enterprise goals.
- Developing the solution of the problem or opportunity the organization has set as an objective.
- Preparing the organization to adopt the solution so that it can take advantage of the new capabilities the solution provides.