What makes a project successful?

A lot of organizations struggle judging a project went. This article covers the textbook approach to evaluating the success of a project. Check out our blog post The Third Dimension of Project Success for an innovative evaluation of project success with a paradigm shifting look at project management.

Defining a successful project

A project is deemed successful when the objectives of the sponsor are met. It is important to meet with the sponsor very early in the project to understand their goals and objectives, which should be documented in a project definition document (e.g., project charter or statement of work). Some characteristics of a successful project are:

  • On time 
  • On budget 
  • High quality 
  • Fulfilled objectives 
  • Satisfied customers 
  • Achieved outcomes  

To achieve these characteristics, project management must follow a process, be supported by a methodology, and have quality assurance to continue improving the process and the methodology.

The Four Principles of Effective Project Managers 

Effective project managers recognize four essential truths which are found in all projects. These key project principles are: 

  • Principle 1 – If you don’t know where you’re going, you probably won’t get there.
    Application – Set an effective project objective, developed with the input of the client(s) and project team members.
  • Principle 2 – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
    Application – Learn and use the available planning techniques developed by previous project managers and thinkers about project management.
  • Principle 3 – If you catch problems early, they are easier to solve. Application – Proactively look for trouble, with an eye toward
    managing problems, rather than being victimized by them.
  • Principle 4 – People and politics are the biggest variables in every project.
    Application – Remember to make time to focus attention on people issues, both internal to the team and external.

Effective project managers are comfortable operating in the “gray area,” even if they have come from a technical environment where hard and fast answers may be considered the norm. 

Now that you understand what makes a successful project, the question is how to effectively implement project management to eliminate project failure and achieve success within your organization. Project Assistants is here to support your business goals, so reach out to us today to set up an appointment to discuss a strategy for your individual business needs.

Stay tuned to our blog for the next part of our series with The Project Management Process.

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