Project Mission and Success Definition
This is Launch Conditioning #1
While the setting of time and budget limits at project commencement is problematic, no project should start without at least a broad objective(s) aligned to stakeholder expectations and priorities. The IPMA Project Manager's BoK lists objectives, mission, and project charter in its start-up guidance. However, Atkinson et al., warn of "premature definition" based on insufficiently defined specifications, especially in novel, one-off high-tech projects. Having a well-defined project mission was ranked #1 in the project definition stage by Hyvari and ranked #2 in a recent meta-study of high-tech project success drivers.
When linking success to project types (including high-tech), Shenhar & Wideman assert "As part of every project's front-end planning ... agreement should be reached on the project's principal success criteria having regard to its project type". In software projects, Verner & Cerpa found that the start of a project offers greatest chance of quality improvement through better requirements setting. O'Brochta draws on CIA technical project experience to conclude that, "the earliest phases of the project life cycle have the most dramatic impact upon the odds that projects will be viewed as successful". Clearly it makes sense for project success measures to be integrated with planning at project initiation, and possibly included within the project team's charter if it exists.
Fieldwork findings for this research agreed that statements around the mission and science goals were often established early (driven by funding applications and collaboration approaches). But project success definitions were less obvious in early planning, and in hindsight interviewees considered they would be useful if incorporated earlier in future projects.
49. Bakker, R. M., Cambre, B., Korlaar, L., & Raab, J. (in press). (2010). Managing the project learning paradox: A set-theoretic approach toward project knowledge transfer. International Journal of project Management. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2010.06.002.
50. Caupin, G., Knoepfel, H., Koch, G., Pannenbacker, K., Peres-Polo, & F., Seabury C., (eds). (2006). IPMA Competence baseline version 3.0. International Project Management Association, The Netherlands: Van Haren Publishing.
51. Atkinson, R., Crawford, L., & Ward, S. (2006). Fundamental uncertainties in projects and the scope of project management. International Journal of Project Management, 24(8), 687-988.
52. Hyvari, I. (2006). Success of projects in different organizational conditions. Project Management Journal, 37(4), 31-41.
53. Crosby, P. (2012b). Key success drivers: Meta-study findings applicable to large high-technology projects. Int. Journal of Information Technology and Project Management, 3(2).
54. Shenhar, A. J., & Wideman, R. M. (1996). Improving PM: linking success criteria to project type. Project Management Institute, Symposium "Creating Canadian Advantage through Project Management", Calgary, p9.
55. Verner, J. M., & Cerpa, N. (2005). Australian software development: What software project management practices lead to success? Proceedings of the 2005 Australian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC'05), Brisbane, Australia.
56. O'Brochta, M. (2002). Project success what are the criteria and whose opinion counts? Proceedings of the project Management Institute Annual Seminars & Symposium, USA, p1.
57. Shenhar, A. J., & Dvir, D. (2007). Reinventing project management: the diamond approach to successful growth and innovation. Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press.
58. See ITER, 2009; CSIRO, 2008; and VISTA, 2010.