As in Parts 1 and 2, the following
extracts are intended to capture the most valuable ideas about identifying project
success as expressed in the discussion that took place on LinkedIn between February 17
and May 9, 2014. As in the previous parts, we have chosen only those whom
we feel have made a significant contribution. Because we have summarized contributor
comments over an extended period, the conversational thread is not always exactly
In this part of the discussion, contributors' thoughts turned to the organizational
environment that typically gives birth to a project. Could that affect the success
of the outcome and, if so, how?
Matthew Weaver, PMP, CSM, ITIL started
off the LinkedIn conversation with the question:
"How do you define project success?"
Matthew then followed his own question with this observation:
While I realize this is a recurring topic,
I note this morning as I work through the PMBOK
5th edition, that they have added a new section "Project Success" (page 35)
that clarifies rather succinctly the definition of project success and the project
manager's role in it:
"Success of the project should be measured in terms of completing
the project within the constraints of scope, time, cost, quality, resources, and
risks as approved between the project managers [sic] and senior management."
Later, the PMBOK authors write:
"Project success should be referred to the last baselines approved
by the authorized stakeholders."
Nowhere is the project manager responsible for whether the project is a good
idea or not, wanted or not, etc. In fact, according to PMBOK page 32, it
is the responsibility of the project's sponsor to promote the project, not the
1. For more
information about Matthew Weaver and his work, visit his web site at www.ProjectWeavers.com.
You can reach him by Email at Info@ProjectWeavers.com,
or call toll free (855) 871-9246 (USA).
2. In fact if you do a Google search for "Project Success" you
are likely to get over five million responses and if you search with "Defining
Project Success" you could get around eleven million responses. These figures
suggest that either the subject has been worn to death or there is a lot of room
for differences of opinion and hence that the answer to the question is far from
3. PMBOK® stands for the Project Management Institute's A
Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) Now in its
5th edition, Pennsylvania, 2013.