Definitions of Project Success
For all endeavors that meet the definition of a project, it makes sense to invoke the process of project management to be successful. Everything else you can continue to do what you did yesterday or follow the recipe or leave it to chance or hope that somebody else knows what they're doing or ... Sure, sometimes it's fun to see what happens, be creative, and avoid structure. But when it's important that the outcome is done right or on time or within a budget, then you have a project and need project management.
A successful project is now recognized through several evolving definitions
as illustrated in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Evolving definitions of a successful project
So, a vital means to ensure a successful project is to ask key stakeholders, in advance, what it is they want from the project. Pin them down to the one thing that is most important to accomplish via the project. Then work like heck to make that happen.