It seems to us that the word "success" is frequently bandied about in project management papers, articles and presentations expecting that everyone intuitively knows what it means. Unfortunately, the reality is that most people have different perceptions. For example, is it "On time and within budget" (project management success), or is it "Customer satisfaction" (product outcome success)? And any number of variations in between.
So we asked the author for his definition, in the context of this paper. In reply, he pointed to one of his presentation slides as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: A new definition of project success
It seems to us that this still leaves open the question of what is encompassed by "Project Results". We believe that this issue should be crystallized by establishing a set of "Key Success Indicators" (KSIs) to be used as a basis for project management decisions.
1. Key Success Indicators ("KSI") may be defined as:
Those project management indicators that
are determined at the beginning of the project and listed in order of priority
reflect directly on the key objectives of the project, and
provide the basis for project management trade-off decisions during the course of the project
And, after completion of the project:
are most likely to result in acceptance of the project and its product by the project's stakeholders as being 'successful' in terms of 'customer' satisfaction, and
can be measured in some way, at some time, on some scale.