Project success undoubtedly has different meanings to different people. In the Project Management Institute (PMI) recent issue (Dec 2009) of the Project Management Journal, it is suggested that the criteria for project success is a “group of principles or standards used to determine or judge project success.”
We’ve all heard the classic answer for how to measure project success: time, cost and quality. However this approach has been criticized because quality is ambiguous to the beholder. Quality is a subjective matter that can be interpreted in different ways depending on each project stakeholder’s perspective.
To improve upon the time/cost/quality model there is the project success hexagon model, which includes the following six project success criteria:
- The realization of the strategic objectives of the organization that initiated the project
- The satisfaction of the people using the resulting service and/or product
- The satisfaction of other stakeholders
These may not necessarily be in the order of importance. In actuality the ranking of importance for each criteria differs from project to project, and organization to organization.
Considering these six factors at the start of a project, ranking each one and defining what would success look like for each, could be a healthy exercise for any project of significant investment. Revisiting these criteria halfway through the project to re-rank or re-define them may provide a clearer picture of project success as the project process proceeds.
The project success hexagon model is interesting to us in that it widens the criteria to be more than just time or cost and includes in addition the deeper aspects of the purpose behind the project itself – achievement of strategic objectives and satisfaction of the people who are affected by the project outcomes.