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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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Jan 01, 2016 12:04 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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Tangible benefits
Are not a matter of project management. It's a a matter of business analysis. Project management is about all needs to create the solution as defined. But project management is not about defined th,product. That is because it is critical to understand the difference between product scope (field,of business analysis) and project scipe
Absolutely. In the practice guide it makes a clear distinction of these points. Project scope CAN be delegated to a business analyst, but in a RACI it is the responsibility of the PM.

Product scope is the realm of the BA. As always Sergio, very insightful.
Jan 01, 2016 12:04 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Tangible benefits
Are not a matter of project management. It's a a matter of business analysis. Project management is about all needs to create the solution as defined. But project management is not about defined th,product. That is because it is critical to understand the difference between product scope (field,of business analysis) and project scipe
Sergio,Product scope is part of Project scope (refer the PMBOK guide). Product scope does not exist in vacuum on its own. Project manager is responsible for the success or failure which includes the product scope.
You are right in saying that "Project management is about all needs to create the solution as defined". What this means to me is solution should be tangible and deliver value to business. If we as PM's lose sight of business value/tangible benefits, project will look successful on paper but will be a failure as no one will use it.
Also, product scope can be delegated to Business Analyst but at the end, Project Manager will be responsible for the success/failure of the project. i..e, to ensure the business value is realized. Projects are started to get some business value and this should always be the focus as Project Manager.
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1 reply by Steven Zachary
Jan 02, 2016 11:11 AM
Steven Zachary
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This is a really good point about the cross sections of PM and BA responsibilities.

BA does need to help map and trace value (goals) to objectives.

And you are right, the owner of the business value tied to the objectives of the specific project are the project manager and not the business analyst.
Adil: that is a big mistake in terms of ambiguity that still persist inside the PMBOK and the PMI is going to change. I know that because I am working with both organizations (IIBA and PMI) in creating the standards for both professions (Business Analyst and Project Manager). And when the PMBOK is refering to product scope is because product scope has to be taking into account to define project scope. Take into accoun that a business case is the input for the initiation process. That means all related to product scope has been defined before the project exists at certain level of detail. But the project must not be penalized for things that are outside the project team. Project objectives like "growth 5% in market share in the current year" are outside the project team control because it will be achieved with the product/service/result not with the project itself. That is a big mistake that still persist when project teams accept this type of objectives (objectives are the meassurement of project sucess). If you take a look to the new Practitioners Guide for Business Analysis you will see that it is clear inside there. Thank you very much for your comments.
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3 replies by Adil Muhammad, Rami Kaibni, and Steven Zachary
Jan 02, 2016 8:09 AM
Rami Kaibni
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I agree with you, these objectives and specifically the onecyou've mentioned should not be part of the project team responsibility.

On the other hand, I see Adil's point, the product scope is part of the project scope so the product should be delivered as requested in order for it to achieve its desired objectives which are beyond the project team control.
Jan 02, 2016 11:12 AM
Steven Zachary
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I don't know how you made the leap to product scope?

You are correct, product scope is more the realm of the BA and project scope the PM. Is this the ambiguity you are referring to?
Jan 02, 2016 3:52 PM
Adil Muhammad
...
Sergio, thanks for the explanation. I understand what you are trying to say now. When I referred to "tangible" benefits post project implementation as one criteria for project success, you are giving an example of "grow 5% market share in the current year". Definitely, this something that the product/service/result will achieve and cannot be on objective of the project but what the product that is delivered as part of the project should achieve. I agree with you here.

Project success should involve "objective" goals and this will anyway be mentioned in the project charter and before that in the business case. The tangible benefits I was referring to was what would be objectively agreed in the project charter (broadly) and detailed in the "requirements baseline" with alignment with the charter and the organization strategy.
I also feel that objective goals of the project sometimes cannot be measures until post implementation, do you agree on this? Your opinion is highly appreciated.

Also, I understand product scope is expected to be broadly defined in the business case, which will be an input for project charter and subsequently this will go into the requirements baseline, which is detailed product scope. But can you tell me how product scope will be not part of project scope (from your insights into what PMI and IIBA are discussing, etc)? Is this from a perspective of defining the product scope only? Because I feel product scope can be defined outside the project broadly only but to realize it, project has to be initiated, which means project scope contains the product scope but from an execution point of view rather from a definition point of view? Appreciate your valuable insights.
Jan 02, 2016 7:24 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Adil: that is a big mistake in terms of ambiguity that still persist inside the PMBOK and the PMI is going to change. I know that because I am working with both organizations (IIBA and PMI) in creating the standards for both professions (Business Analyst and Project Manager). And when the PMBOK is refering to product scope is because product scope has to be taking into account to define project scope. Take into accoun that a business case is the input for the initiation process. That means all related to product scope has been defined before the project exists at certain level of detail. But the project must not be penalized for things that are outside the project team. Project objectives like "growth 5% in market share in the current year" are outside the project team control because it will be achieved with the product/service/result not with the project itself. That is a big mistake that still persist when project teams accept this type of objectives (objectives are the meassurement of project sucess). If you take a look to the new Practitioners Guide for Business Analysis you will see that it is clear inside there. Thank you very much for your comments.
I agree with you, these objectives and specifically the onecyou've mentioned should not be part of the project team responsibility.

On the other hand, I see Adil's point, the product scope is part of the project scope so the product should be delivered as requested in order for it to achieve its desired objectives which are beyond the project team control.
Jan 01, 2016 6:40 PM
Replying to Steven Zachary
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I was being sarcastic. All in good fun Rami, all in good fun!
No worries Steven, I already figured that part out, it's all good and good fun is healthy.
Jan 02, 2016 4:41 AM
Replying to Adil Muhammad
...
Sergio,Product scope is part of Project scope (refer the PMBOK guide). Product scope does not exist in vacuum on its own. Project manager is responsible for the success or failure which includes the product scope.
You are right in saying that "Project management is about all needs to create the solution as defined". What this means to me is solution should be tangible and deliver value to business. If we as PM's lose sight of business value/tangible benefits, project will look successful on paper but will be a failure as no one will use it.
Also, product scope can be delegated to Business Analyst but at the end, Project Manager will be responsible for the success/failure of the project. i..e, to ensure the business value is realized. Projects are started to get some business value and this should always be the focus as Project Manager.
This is a really good point about the cross sections of PM and BA responsibilities.

BA does need to help map and trace value (goals) to objectives.

And you are right, the owner of the business value tied to the objectives of the specific project are the project manager and not the business analyst.
Jan 02, 2016 7:24 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Adil: that is a big mistake in terms of ambiguity that still persist inside the PMBOK and the PMI is going to change. I know that because I am working with both organizations (IIBA and PMI) in creating the standards for both professions (Business Analyst and Project Manager). And when the PMBOK is refering to product scope is because product scope has to be taking into account to define project scope. Take into accoun that a business case is the input for the initiation process. That means all related to product scope has been defined before the project exists at certain level of detail. But the project must not be penalized for things that are outside the project team. Project objectives like "growth 5% in market share in the current year" are outside the project team control because it will be achieved with the product/service/result not with the project itself. That is a big mistake that still persist when project teams accept this type of objectives (objectives are the meassurement of project sucess). If you take a look to the new Practitioners Guide for Business Analysis you will see that it is clear inside there. Thank you very much for your comments.
I don't know how you made the leap to product scope?

You are correct, product scope is more the realm of the BA and project scope the PM. Is this the ambiguity you are referring to?
I am not sure I totally agree with the notion that a project's success is defined by the business value it adds.

Don't get me wrong, we should not be working on projects that ultimately do not add value to the business.

What I worry about is that the project manager who was given a specific scope, time and resources should be measured by the business value generated by the project.

I think the business value of the project belongs to the project sponsor or the programme.
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1 reply by Steven Zachary
Jan 02, 2016 1:30 PM
Steven Zachary
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Blasphemy!!

Ha. Really though, if you don't think a PM should be measured by the value it creates and the strategy it supports, then what??
Jan 02, 2016 11:41 AM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
...
I am not sure I totally agree with the notion that a project's success is defined by the business value it adds.

Don't get me wrong, we should not be working on projects that ultimately do not add value to the business.

What I worry about is that the project manager who was given a specific scope, time and resources should be measured by the business value generated by the project.

I think the business value of the project belongs to the project sponsor or the programme.
Blasphemy!!

Ha. Really though, if you don't think a PM should be measured by the value it creates and the strategy it supports, then what??
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1 reply by Stéphane Parent
Jan 02, 2016 2:48 PM
Stéphane Parent
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Why, by delivering the baselined scope within the baselined constraints (time & cost), of course!
Jan 02, 2016 1:30 PM
Replying to Steven Zachary
...
Blasphemy!!

Ha. Really though, if you don't think a PM should be measured by the value it creates and the strategy it supports, then what??
Why, by delivering the baselined scope within the baselined constraints (time & cost), of course!
...
2 replies by Adil Muhammad and Rami Kaibni
Jan 02, 2016 3:54 PM
Adil Muhammad
...
If project manager has been given the responsibility to realize the business value by successfully planning, executing and delivering the project. How can he/she be not responsible for the business value? Yes, project sponsor defines and owns the business value but project manager will be ultimately responsible for delivering/realizing it.
Jan 02, 2016 4:58 PM
Rami Kaibni
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Stephane, I agree with this. The project success and the PM responsibility is to ensure the project / product is delivered within the required time and budget in addition to the required quality. Choosing the projects for their business value and the Project Charter is something outside of the project control. It lies with the sponsor and higher management. Sponsor signs the Project Charter in which the PM is assigned and it initiates the project and the business case is done but through the organization not the project.
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