Thursday, December 24, 2015

Revisting project success criteria

We are nearing the end of the year. It is a great time to reflect what worked and what did not work. It is time to revise the goals, metrics to prepare for the future. In this context, I  would like to  share findings from  current research and few ideas on revising the project success criteria.

Many project managers have been trained on the idea of the iron traingle of project success, that is delivering the project scope within the agreed  time and cost budgets. We also understand that real project success as understood by the stake holders from the benefit provided to them, is much more than meeting the iron triangle. There have been several studies over the years in relating the project performance to project success. Pedro Serrador and Rodney Turner in their paper "The Relationship Between Project Success and Project Efficiency"  (paywalled) surveyed 1386 projects and concluded project efficiency(meaning the project scope, time and cost goals) correlates moderately strongly  to overall project success with a correlation of 0.6. So there is a need to consider  other project success factors and also monitor project success metric from the point of view of the various stakeholders.

Most organizations measure project metrics like quality, predictability, productivity and customer satisfaction on a monthly basis. They may also have an yearly survey with customers to get their satisfaction levels with past projects and identify potential future business. This may not be specifically mapped to the past projects and used for improvement.  The measure of satisfaction from team, customer/sponsor and organization preparedness for future at periodic intervals and relating them to the past projects can make the organizations better at managing  project portfolios. Trying to measure these could be difficult as the  what, when, who and how need to be defined.  Initially the measurement may not be complete. Once the measurement is started, the results may be useful at a higher hierarchy of the organization at first and overtime, the benefit may be felt at the various levels. So the best time is to start now.

If you  already have a better project success metric, I appreciate if you can  share your experience.

Happy holidays and new year...