Defining project/program success
The traditional definition of success correlates directly to delivery on time, within budget, and within scope. These traditional success factors do not account for benefits realization and quality. What value is a project/program that was delivered on time, within scope, and within budget if people are not satisfied with or refuse to use the deliverable(s)?
For this reason, the success (or performance) of project/program will be based upon success criteria proposed in the charter and finalized during execution in the management plan according to the following:
|Programs||Owner of success component|
|Success of product||
Did the project deliver what was asked for?
|Did the program deliver what was asked for?||Team|
|Criteria should consider scope, requirements, quality, functionality||Criteria should consider scope, quality, results of program components|
|Success of outcome||
Are people willing to use the project's end deliverable and does it provide benefit to them when they use it?
Are people willing to use the program's end deliverables and does it provide benefit to them according to the program vision?
|Criteria should consider realization of benefits, objectives||Criteria should consider benefits, objectives, vision|
|Success of process||
Was the project management process successful?
Was the program management process successful?
|Criteria should consider how the project was managed with respect to considerations such as budget management, resource management, schedule management, project team satisfaction, change management, communication, transition to operations, sponsor satisfaction, procurement management, et cetera||Criteria should consider how the program was managed with respect to considerations such as oversight of program components, resource management, budget management, schedule management, team satisfaction, change management, communication, benefits management, transition to operations, sponsor satisfaction, procurement management, et cetera|
Every project/program is unique, therefore the success criteria will be different based on constraints, benefits, and objectives. The success criteria should reflect all benefits and objectives.
Success criteria must be specific, measurable, and approved or agreed upon by stakeholders (especially the sponsor) at the beginning. Acceptable variances or contingencies for costs, schedule, and quality should be included in the success criteria (for example, “The budget must not exceed $500,000 with a 2% contingency” or “the deliverable must result in a reduction of ‘x’ by ‘y%’”).
To ensure benefits are realized, project/program managers must execute effective change management with their project/program.
Some success criteria pertaining to benefits realized may have to be measured after project closure. This should be documented in the closure report (DOCX), and transitioned to the functional manager responsible for operations of deliverable(s) to follow up on.