How to Define Project Success?

“I never dreamed about success.

I worked for it.”

– Estee Lauder [Entrepreneur]

The above words ring true in terms of project management and its success. You cannot just dream about the project’s success, but you have to work for it tirelessly.

There is no universal definition of project success.

Nevertheless, there has been so much discussion on the nature and the definition of project success, but there is not a common answer to it so far. There is again no consensus on how one can define project success. Historically, the only important criteria for defining a project success have been – under budget and under schedule factors.

Of course, there are many other parameters to define a project success, but today, project managers need to go beyond budget and schedule. Project managers are required to think about beneficiaries, stakeholders, angel investors, customers to name a few if they wish to get truly satisfied by the project management benefits.

What are the Project Success Criteria?

It may differ from company to company. There are not a common criteria for all.

Yet, project success criteria are the standards that investors and business group’s head will use to determine if the project is done well to their expectations or not. And they can be seen or judged during the project’s life-cycle and after project close. These criteria are not only based on a project’s specific budget or a schedule of completion, but on other important factors such as employees, customers, stakeholders and leadership.

It often happens with us that we start a project with the wrong set of criteria and then we end up with unsatisfactory results. And for the same reason, nowadays, pmp training programs are highly recommended for all aspiring and existing project managers.

Here are the top six factors for defining the success of a project:

  1. Time Frame

Sometimes, clients give us a hard deadline and other times, they are just looking for the final product. It’s quite acceptable by the higher authority and your clients when a project gets delayed or stuck due to some natural incidents. However, as a project manager, you should and must follow the deadlines. It increases your credibility in customer’s eyes.

Completing the project in time needs rigorous planning by the project manager. Regular meetings with your teams and concerned individuals are prerequisites for a successful project. Using the latest digital technology and a smart way to plan your schedule are two new required skills by project managers.

  1. Cost

Did you stick to the budget? This is most often question asked by higher authorities to the project managers. Once you commit to your clients on a specific amount, make sure that you adhere to those figures. If your reports suggest some increasing number after the start off a project, let your customer know it with the authentic clarification for the same.  Situations cannot be predicted though you can be well prepared for any sudden changes or happenings.

  1. Customer Satisfaction

Making your client happy with the end product or service is your fundamental priority. You just cannot deliver the product and leave the client’s feedback not affect you. It is your duty as a service provider to give the highest quality service and ask for their genuine feedback.

How can you track a client’s satisfaction? You can ask them to rate on a scale of 1 to 10. This may happen on a weekly or monthly basis so that you can analyze your progress and findings.

Reliability of your service or product is paramount for you to get a repeated order from the same customer.

  1. Quality of Work

Quality always overrides the quantity. The quality of your project tells much about intention and the organization’s purpose. One project’s quality often affects the next or another project’s future. It is very important to focus on and have a consistent track on your quality aspect. Mouth publicity of your project by the customers is far more powerful and impactful than the paid advertisements. Delivering a strong and quality service or a product is very subtle for your business to grow.

  1. Team Satisfaction

Nothing cannot be achieved without your team’s support. How would your team give its best if it is unsatisfied? Certainly, not! This is often overlooked in project management. Sometimes, we take our teams granted and expect a robust performance by them. A project manger’s philosophy should be like – ‘I don’t ask my team to do anything I would not do.’

It is the project manager’s prime job to keep his or her team happy. Understanding their concerns is important. And trying to solve them is a project manger’s skill.

  1. Continuous Measurements

It may seem hard to do for many, but this is one of the significant criteria for any successful project. A project manager needs to measure all small things on a continuous basis in order to get the desired results at the end.

It may happen on many fronts simultaneously and a project manager is required to get technological support. Digital approaches to construction management software would be a good place to start.

The continuous measurement activity is not only helpful for the project’s success but it also helps you to spot the major issues with your project implementation. Improvement is a continuous process. Even if your project fulfils the customer’s expectations, but fails on the organization’s project management improvement parameters then that project’s success is not validated.

With a changing dynamics of project management around the globe, the project managers from across the industries are going for project management certifications to prove their credentials in the project management field.

The companies and projects demand a skilled project manager who has a strong and proven theoretical as well as practical understanding of project leading.

Though, the criteria to define a project’s success vary company to company, the above discussed six factors are fundamental to any project’s success.

 We hope, when you judge the project’s success next time, you do it on these parameters.

Extra tip: If you are an aspiring or an existing project manager in any industry and wish to play a pivotal role in project’s success then you should definitely look for project managers’ top-most choice – the project management certification.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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