Who Defines “Success” for Your Project?


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Mark Hart's picture

Every project has multiple potentials for multiple successes. Every individual associated with a project is likely to have unique perspectives on successes. For example:


A project manager may emphasize the mismatch between forecasts and the actual project parameters. Planned project cost and duration are likely to be compared to actual project cost and duration. Success may be determined by the mismatch. Success may relate to performance. Perceived performance may be reflected on the project manager's résumé and performance evaluation. 


Sponsors have multiple perspectives on successes. Some may consider it a success that the project was approved and produced. Factors related to budget and duration are only two ways to assess the project. The forecast is one factor that impacts the probability that a particular project is funded.


Engineering and operations may need to synthesize new approaches to solve unique challenges. They may perceive greater success because of the quality of the solution rather than compliance with a derived date on a calendar.


Some individual contributors (engineers, coders, documentation specialists,...) declare success if the project provided gainful employment.


Some individuals ascribe success from non-monetary factors. Did they have the opportunity to improve their skills? Did the improve their professional network? Did this project make a difference?



An individual begins a project with a some expectations of success – a forecast. As the project progresses, any individual can evolve their perspective. Some individuals strive to move from planning projects and features to designing a context where their successes are inevitable.


May 14, 2015 - 9:04pm

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