Project Management

Yes, It Matters How Project Success Is Defined!

BMG research suggests that overall project success rates currently hover around 80%, all factors equal. But according to an Association for Project Management post by Stephen Parrett, that’s just the problem – all factors are not equal in the success of a completed project if you take into account differences in performance and effectiveness. If the BMG findings seem a bit “off,” perhaps it is because the results were garnered from the project participants themselves. Can anyone say “bias?!” Why are certain project performance factors considered more critical than others? Parrett explains in brief.

Change in Research Analysis

For a more accurate picture, Parrett suggests that researchers consider the organizational context in which the participants operate, and that they include a wider range of participants (especially senior management).

Let’s start with context. On a more granular level, researchers ought to pay more attention to individual versus group dynamics, to what extent associated projects are managed within the same program, to the portfolio as a whole (if one exists), to the relative experience of operators, and to the state of regimes (centralized or devolved). Regarding stakeholders, researchers should focus on how the successful delivery of the organizational strategy impacts project performance, the resilience of benefits once they are implemented (to gauge the effectiveness of investment), effectiveness of implementation (including degree of disruption), and the impact of ongoing learning outcomes.

Defining Success

Parrett states his overall case succinctly:

Success factors will need to be carefully defined so that they can be extended to adequately cover the broader context, and applied by a wider range of people who may have limited awareness of the nomenclature used by project management professionals.

Basically, in the outset, the evidence would have more weight and be more useful to the business for future projects if success factors were analyzed in a more nuanced way.

Read the original post at:

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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