Companies are carrying out projects all the time. In fact, project management is considered as a strategic edge vital for the survival of a business in today’s dynamic world. Efficient project implementation is directly linked to value creation and leads to better performing organizations. (Kerzner 2018, 152−154.) Which factors actually make a project a success?
What makes a project a success?
Imagine the following scenario: a project team has completed a long and complex project and is congratulating each other on a job well done. All team members are satisfied with the project and consider it a great success. The project was completed on time, within the budget, and the project manager is satisfied with the team performance. However, from the client’s perspective the project did not deliver what they wanted. Is the project considered successful?
Previously, this scenario would have been considered a successful project as project success was determined by operational factors, such as meeting the financial and time-specific requirements. However, the assessment of project success has developed over time. Nowadays the perception of stakeholders, including the customer, project team, and end-user should be included in the assessment of project success. (Malach-Pines et al. 2009, 273−274.)
Under the modern definition, project success is understood to differ based on the person evaluating the project, and therefore includes more comprehensive indicators. The assessment criteria include four factors:
- impact on customers
- business success and
- preparing for the future.
Efficiency includes the operational aspects, whereas the customer perception considers the benefit to the end-user. Business success takes into consideration the organizational development while future aspect considers the future growth opportunities for the organization. (Malach-Pines et al. 2009, 273−274.)
How to achieve project success?
Efficient communication is essential in achieving project success. Communication is considered efficient when the necessary information reaches the right people at the right time. Effective communication throughout the project is essential, as it builds unity within the stakeholders and helps avoid disputes. When all stakeholders are communicating efficiently, the project expectations can be anticipated, and it is possible to focus on issues, before they jeopardise the success of the project. (Kajala 2021.)
In addition, to efficient communication, utilization of historical data can be greatly beneficial in achieving project success. Historical data can record the lessons learned from previous successful, or even failed projects. Such insights gathered from previous projects should be shared between the entire project team and employed and utilized to improve the prospect of success of future projects. (Kajala 2021.)
Nea Kajala is an international business student at LAB University of Applied Sciences. The recently completed Bachelor thesis examined project management optimization in financial audit projects.
Jonathan Bradshaw works as a lecturer in international business at LAB University of Applied Sciences.
Kajala, N. 2021. Optimizing the Project Management Procedures for Financial Audit Projects. LAB University of Applied Sciences. Thesis. [Cited 12 Sep 2021]. Available at: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:amk-2021091417748
Kerzner, H. 2018. The Future of Project Management. In Emerson, A. M. (Eds.). Revista de Gestão e Projetos 9(3). São Paulo: Universidade Nove de Julho, pp. 151−166.
Malach-Pines, A., Dvir, D. & Sadeh, A. 2009. Project manager-project (PM-P) fit and project success. In Schoenherr, T., Blome, C. & Gimenez, C. (Eds.). International Journal of Operations & Production Management 29(3). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, pp. 268−291.
Image 1. Fauxels. 2019. Kuva, kädet, ihmiset, läppäri, business. Pexels. [Cited 17 Sep 2021]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/fi-fi/kuva/kadet-ihmiset-lappari-business-3184418/