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Can You Prove That Your Project Was A Success?
The two primary means by which we evaluate a project's performance...
There are two categories for determining project success, and both are equally important. The first includes fact-based metrics, such as the extent to which the product scope was created and met its quality acceptance requirements, whether the work was performed on time, and whether it was done within budget.
The second category is more impression-based in nature, such as whether the customer was “satisfied” with the execution of the project or not. We call this type of success criteria the subjective measurements.
Depending on the industry we’re working in, our corporate culture, the business and technical underpinnings of the project, who our stakeholders are, and other diverse factors, the weight of these two categories can vary greatly. Further, within each category, there are individual priorities and weightings. For example, delivering on time might be far more important to our customer than coming in under budget.
Unless we take the time during the initiation phase of our projects to predetermine what success actual entails… well, we will likely spend much of our execution phase “project guessing” instead of project managing. And this is a recipe for project failure.
When difficult decisions arise (and they will), our job will be much easier, logical, and defensible if we know exactly what “done” looks like ahead of time. One of our first tasks as a Project Manager is then to clearly define, prioritize, and document both the objective and subjective end goals of the project.
Failing to do this means failing to know where to start planning and prioritizing the project—and this means failing to understand how to make sound, logical decisions for us and our team.
The Bottom Line:
To be successful, we must pre-determine what “success” looks like before detail planning and execution begin.