This paper is the second of a four-part series in which an attempt has been made to capture the collective wisdom of the leading participants in an extended LinkedIn discussion over the first six months of 2014. The actual original texts have been edited for grammar and spelling to make for easier reading online. The observations quoted are the opinions and property of the contributors as noted.

Published here September 2014.

PART 1 | Introduction | Stan Krupinski - Andrzej Wardaszka | Richard Stubbs
Brian Phillips | Max Wideman Introduces KPIs and KSIs | David Willcox | David Hatch
Larry Moore - Cliona O'Hanrahan | Mounir Ajam | PART 3

Max Wideman[12] Introduces KPIs and KSIs

@Matthew: In your earlier post you quoted: "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." And, contrary to Standish Reports, "Project success should be referred to the last baselines approved by the authorized stakeholders."

While I think the first statement is correct from the project manager's standpoint, I am sure we are all familiar with the concept of "scope creep". That is, typically the increase of project scope without corresponding increases of time and cost allowances, and hence no last updated baselines. However Standish have a point. They may be taking aim, not at project managers, but at Project Owners who can also be guilty of scope creep by adding incremental embellishments for their own benefit (e.g. political gain) albeit with approved budget changes that add to the original estimates.

@Stan Krupinski quoted Wikipedia as saying "Project objectives define target status at the end of the project, the reaching of which is considered necessary for the achievement of planned benefits. They can be formulated as 'SMART Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)' ".

Yes, though not defined by PMI, KPIs are a popular metric that refer to the level of performance of the management of the project and focus primarily on the success of the project's management (rather than the product). The latter, i.e. KSIs, refer to the level of capability of the *product* to deliver the expected benefits, i.e. the success of the product.

@Brian: Thanks Brian for your comments on the latest PMBOK Guide. The example you give is why I advocate the introduction of Key Success Indicators (KSIs, not KPIs), and have been doing so since 2000.

@Andrzej: Thanks for the comment. Be careful to draw a distinction between *project* success and *product* success. You can have one or the other but the ideal is to have success in both. Just to muddy the water a bit further, there are lots of projects where the team doesn't even know what "done" looks like — so even that can be problematic for determining project success. Product success in terms of benefits can only be finally determined after a period of the product being in use.

@Richard: It's all very well, but which criteria are uppermost is very dependent on the type of project. Opening an Olympic Games late, for example, with all the seats filled for opening day is going to make for a lot of unhappy campers — including the games' sponsors. Better by far to abandon some of the "scope" in order to be on time.

Brian Phillips  Brian Phillips

12. Max Wideman: Well-known Project Management Consultant
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