Are You Having a Successful Project?

As anyone can guess, many questions have been raised by many people as to whether a particular project is a success or a failure. At this point these concepts can be explained from the perspective of project result and expectation and with respect to the Owner, Customer or Client as it relates to aesthetics, function, cost, quality and time. Secondly, from the perspective of the Project Manager, Project Team, Contractor and even the organization as it relates to expected profit and value to be gained.

A well-managed project with the aim of achieving excellent result should undergo all the nine Project Management Knowledge areas as follows: Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resource, Communications, Risk, Procurement and Integration Management.

Therefore, Project Success will be defined with respect to products or services and with respect to Project Management. While considering the products or services, it implies that the project meets organizational goals, profit expectation, desired outcome and market needs. On the other hand it can be said that the project is successful when the following project constraints are all met. For example: Scope – the work that must be done in order to produce all the proper deliverables and also a list of what is not to be done. Time (schedule) – the timetable that specifies when each task or activity should start and finish. Cost (budget) – the amount the Sponsor, Owner or Customer has agreed to pay for acceptable project deliverables. Resources – include people that bring in the skills and expertise for the specific project, materials, equipment, facilities. Quality – a conformance to requirement and in this context it embraces the other constraints.

Successful Project Defined

Because a project success cannot be split into two despite the above approach, a project can either be successful or failure and not a part of both. Hence, a successful project can be defined as a project where everyone involved is happy with the final outcome.

Another thing to bear in mind when assessing a project outcome is to identify whether you are using project success criteria, which is the benchmark to measure success and failure or using project success factors, these are the inputs to the management system that will lead to the success of the project either directly or indirectly.

Project Success Criteria
  • Clients can influence a project through unclear expectation or Client limiting factors. For example, when a client limits the design fees rather than viewing the overall project cost. In this scenario, most projects encounter many changes during construction stage because of lack of adequate and well-coordinated set of drawings. Though, it is often seen by both the Client and the Organization that project coordination is somewhat a waste of resources especially in the short term but the truth is that, the little or extra fees on coordination will eventually bring about huge savings during construction and subsequently make the Client happy and the project becoming a success.
  • To keep and maintain frequent communication with stakeholders so that everyone engaged is kept informed at all times. A stakeholder can be anyone involved in the project such as: the Client, Sponsor, Project Manager, Project Team and Consultants.
  • Clear statement of work and/or the objective to include the purpose or need, time and budget.
  • Constant and regular feedback from the Client / Customer by the organization’s Executive Management Team or by the Project Manager depending on the structure of the organization.
  • To establish and keep a record of client’s project acceptance criteria. This can act as a checklist for meeting Client’s need.
  • To manage all change closely. Areas of interest should include scope, change orders and scope creep.
  • As part of project target, a successful project should aim at customer satisfaction.


Project Success Factors
  • Successful management system requires the following five project processes to be properly followed in order to enhance results that will exceed Customer or Client expectations and requirements.
    • Project Processes:
      • Initiating
      • Planning
      • Execution
      • Control and monitoring (overlapping other processes)
      • Closing
  • The Project Manager should have the required experience and skills to perform in this capacity for the particular project.
  • The executive management of the organization should render and provide effective and timely support to the project Manager and Project Team.
  • External influences should be discouraged and other influencers within the organization outside of the project should have restricted authority and control over the project otherwise, daily tasks and objectives might not be met due to distractions or contributions not aligned with the requirement of the client or contribution that is generally right but not administered for that particular project.
  • To establish a realistic project scope and schedule.


 Characteristics of Project Failure
  • Diminished or reduced customer satisfaction.
  • Budget overrun.
  • Multiple changes at a later stage of the project.
  • The project schedule has ballooned out of control.
  • Insufficient technological competency of project Team. For example, all key team members should be trained at the same level of application of technology such as the software dedicated to the project, otherwise one team member will spend hours to develop and produce project information while another team member comes to decompose what has already been done due to lack of the knowledge employed. This scenario can almost likely bring a state of confusion and project disaster.
  • Inadequate staff as it relates to workload / skills ratio. This also can definitely lead to project problems.



Project success is the responsibility of all involved in the project. When a project is successful everyone is happy to be associated with the project, with the same token no one wants to be associated with failed or troubled project.

Above all, a successful project is one that is well planned having taken into consideration all the above factors. In doing this, the project Manager has major roles to play. This role can include appointing a technical lead for the project, this is someone with complete knowledge and understanding of the project technical environment; development of good and sound communication plan; educate the client where necessary to clear any perceived knowledge of professional terminology or practice.

Are you having a successful project? I hope you will by now.