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How do you define project success?
After reading a great article by Marian Haus on her blog, she brought up the question "how do you define project success".

I think this is a fantastic question and surely to elicit different answers. For me project success is measured by the ability for it's deliverables to create business value.

Looking at that now I realize I am missing the scope, cost, schedule from my definition. Would you help me improve it?
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I agree with you Steven and I think you have missed out nothing. If you are delivering the business value, it is definitely through the deliverables which are delivered within the scope, time and cost constraints. There is no specific need to mention these constraints when you have already said business value. This definition is much more encompassing than the traditions project management approach. PMBOK 5th Edition started pointing towards this aspect.
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1 reply by Steven Zachary
Dec 30, 2015 11:01 PM
Steven Zachary
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Thank you Suhail, I agree. Business value is the driver.
From my experience and in simple words: Project Success is executing the plan for the business need and delivering the required product which is in line with the organization strategy plans. Project should be completed within the schedule, cost, scope baselines and quality requirements and above all with sound safety records.
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1 reply by Steven Zachary
Dec 31, 2015 12:53 PM
Steven Zachary
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Very interesting Rami.

A lot of good points in there, but I don't see the magic word....value.

Strategy is useless if it doesn't create value.
Process sucess is achieving project objectives. And sorry Steven but I do not agree with you about your statement related to deliverables (sorry if I did not understand well your statement). Project deliverables (product/service/result) are created because the need to solve a business problem. But the definition of those deliverables as the right solution is out of the project objectives because the project scope is defined from product scope and the product scope is defined before the project start by the business analyst and her/his group. I have debate this for years because it is amazing to see how defined project objectives are product objectives. For example, to assign a project objective like "growh 5% in market share in the current year" is wrong. You will growth thanks the product/service/result to be created but not by the process to create it (the project). What we have to do is to define all project objectives that will be fully aligened with solution objectives in terms of the project management process you will use to assure that the product/service/result is deliverd as defined.
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1 reply by Steven Zachary
Dec 30, 2015 11:03 PM
Steven Zachary
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Sergio,

Thank you so much for your response. I do not disagree with you at all. We are saying the same thing, although you laid it out much more comprehensively than me. In the blog I referenced I was merely arguing deliverables are a output of a much more comprehensive process, the same one you just outlined.
for me

project success = Customer Success(achieving the required business value) + organization success(something added to the lessons learned which can be used in other projects,getting new clients because of the project success etc) + people success(team members learned something out of this project)
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1 reply by Steven Zachary
Dec 30, 2015 11:04 PM
Steven Zachary
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I would suggest organizational success be replaced by "Reusability". The unsung hero in "just enough" documentation.
Dec 30, 2015 5:49 PM
Replying to Suhail Iqbal
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I agree with you Steven and I think you have missed out nothing. If you are delivering the business value, it is definitely through the deliverables which are delivered within the scope, time and cost constraints. There is no specific need to mention these constraints when you have already said business value. This definition is much more encompassing than the traditions project management approach. PMBOK 5th Edition started pointing towards this aspect.
Thank you Suhail, I agree. Business value is the driver.
Dec 30, 2015 8:27 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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Process sucess is achieving project objectives. And sorry Steven but I do not agree with you about your statement related to deliverables (sorry if I did not understand well your statement). Project deliverables (product/service/result) are created because the need to solve a business problem. But the definition of those deliverables as the right solution is out of the project objectives because the project scope is defined from product scope and the product scope is defined before the project start by the business analyst and her/his group. I have debate this for years because it is amazing to see how defined project objectives are product objectives. For example, to assign a project objective like "growh 5% in market share in the current year" is wrong. You will growth thanks the product/service/result to be created but not by the process to create it (the project). What we have to do is to define all project objectives that will be fully aligened with solution objectives in terms of the project management process you will use to assure that the product/service/result is deliverd as defined.
Sergio,

Thank you so much for your response. I do not disagree with you at all. We are saying the same thing, although you laid it out much more comprehensively than me. In the blog I referenced I was merely arguing deliverables are a output of a much more comprehensive process, the same one you just outlined.
Dec 30, 2015 9:32 PM
Replying to Bala S Duvvuri
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for me

project success = Customer Success(achieving the required business value) + organization success(something added to the lessons learned which can be used in other projects,getting new clients because of the project success etc) + people success(team members learned something out of this project)
I would suggest organizational success be replaced by "Reusability". The unsung hero in "just enough" documentation.
I think today the Project planning is going through a transition that may be some of us are not perceiving the change as much as it is required. Most deliverables are agile and most customer requirements are dynamic. In this scenario of disruptive transformation, project Management has got to be more self challenging and spiral inwards in reorienting and closing towards the deliverables.

Often, the application is an experimental initiative and the project follows a classic model expectations of quality reviews and project milestones with clear product features.

Focus on risk is more important in an evolving product and scope and timelines don't have a top priority.

So for Project success to identify the Project category, classic waterfall , Agile, Iterative would be a critical requirement in the first place. Avoiding Adhocism and following processes and effort reporting, identifying logical and acceptable milestones, and Client involvement at the prescribed frequency directly into the project would give a global scalability, in my opinion, to any Project. This in itself is the essence of Project Planning !!
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1 reply by Steven Zachary
Dec 30, 2015 11:18 PM
Steven Zachary
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Praveen,

It's rare that yo hear of the need to evolve with such practical solutions for doing so. Client involvement is always the lynchpin and unfortunately, varies from team to team, organization to organization. Maybe client engagement needs to be the focus?
Dec 30, 2015 11:09 PM
Replying to Praveen Kambhampati
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I think today the Project planning is going through a transition that may be some of us are not perceiving the change as much as it is required. Most deliverables are agile and most customer requirements are dynamic. In this scenario of disruptive transformation, project Management has got to be more self challenging and spiral inwards in reorienting and closing towards the deliverables.

Often, the application is an experimental initiative and the project follows a classic model expectations of quality reviews and project milestones with clear product features.

Focus on risk is more important in an evolving product and scope and timelines don't have a top priority.

So for Project success to identify the Project category, classic waterfall , Agile, Iterative would be a critical requirement in the first place. Avoiding Adhocism and following processes and effort reporting, identifying logical and acceptable milestones, and Client involvement at the prescribed frequency directly into the project would give a global scalability, in my opinion, to any Project. This in itself is the essence of Project Planning !!
Praveen,

It's rare that yo hear of the need to evolve with such practical solutions for doing so. Client involvement is always the lynchpin and unfortunately, varies from team to team, organization to organization. Maybe client engagement needs to be the focus?
As long as project's output i.e. product/service/result meets the pre approved project attributes such as scope, cost, schedule, I believe the sponsor/client will deem it as successful.

The preapproved attributes of the project should be driven by the program outcome which in turn should be driven by organizational needs i.e. business value,

The issue is project team members should be continuously reminded of the big picture at program/portfolio/organization level and the need for project output to be in alignment with the "big picture" needs, project success can be achieved.
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2 replies by Rami Kaibni and Steven Zachary
Dec 31, 2015 2:27 PM
Steven Zachary
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Balaji,

I agree here, especially about always bringing the project back into focus of the bigger picture. This is essential and has proven very successful in my own experience.

The only reservation I have with the firs paragraph is that a project can meet its product/service/result and scope, cost and schedule flawlessly and still fail sponsor/client expectations or value.

This is where tracability and proper walkthroughs come into play. What do you think?
Dec 31, 2015 3:49 PM
Rami Kaibni
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I totally agree with this Balaji - Very Wise.
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