by Robert Buttrick
In my 'Enemies within' blog, we looked at how management get the project performance they deserve. In that blog we explored the important role of the programme and project sponsor in making sure that an organisation’s programmes and projects succeed. But what does 'success' mean? Success is too often interpreted through the eyes of differing stakeholders.
Successful project management ensures the delivery of a specified scope, on time and to budget (the triple constraint). It is related to how efficiently a project is managed. This should be assessed during the project closure review, documented in a project closure report and measured by timeliness of delivery milestones, adherence to budgets and quality. This is commonly associated with the role of the project manager.
A successful project realises the business benefits it was set up to achieve as stated in a business case. It is related to the effectiveness of the project in meeting the objectives set. The post implementation review (post-project review) assesses this. Measures of success here must be indicative of the business objectives being achieved. This review therefore has to happen sometime after the output of the project has been put into use. It is associated with the role of the project sponsor.
A successful organisation drives towards its strategic objectives while fulfilling expectations of shareholders, managers, employees and other stakeholders. Measures for this are at a corporate level and should be financial and non-financial, such as a balanced score card. This is associated with the role of the chief executive.
A project which has been successfully ‘project managed’, however, may actually deliver little of value to the organisation. Further, a ‘successful project’ may not further the strategic objectives of the organisation, as its objectives may be out of alignment organisations seeking to optimise their total portfolio of projects through the effective combination of project management, sponsorship and portfolio management. A failing company can be full of ‘successful project management’ and ‘successful projects’ all driving in different directions.
© Robert Buttrick