The original version of this paper was first presented in Project Management World Today in the March 2000 issue. It was subsequently updated and reproduced on this web site in November 2000. This is Revision 17, March 2009.

Republished here February 2023.

PART 1 | First Principles of Project Management
Discussion - First Principles Generally | Discussion - Success Principle
Discussion - Commitment Principle | Discussion - Tetrad Trade-off Principle

Discussion - Commitment Principle

Issue #5: It has been suggested that there should be a "Business Principle"

That is, a principle that states that the project must be in alignment with the sponsoring organization's goals. This is a valid comment, but this connection is in fact embedded in the Project System Principle requiring that a robust and up-to-date Business Case is established and maintained to drive appropriate decision making throughout the project life span. It is corporate management's responsibility to determine the relevance and soundness of the Business Case before giving project approval to proceed to the next phase.

Issue #6: Similar to Issue #5, it has been suggested that there should be a separate "Technical Principle"

The issue here is that the project leader and team members must be knowledgeable in the technology of the product. This is certainly true, but this is covered by the Commitment Principle in that an Equitable Commitment is not possible without a sufficient understanding of the project, its technology, and especially the major risks involved.

Issue #7: It must be recognized that every project "evolves" through its life span and the commitment and tradeoffs will similarly evolve.

On most projects the players will also change, as it moves through its life span, simply to meet the changing level of effort and different skills required in each phase. Nevertheless, an equitable commitment can and should exist for every phase of the project if the project is to remain viable.

Once again, in the real world, many projects are not set up this way. Resources are short changed or reprioritized and unattainable deadlines are set, often for the reasons described by Marie Scotto (see Issue #1 above.)[29] Thus, the absence of consistent definitions of success and commitments simply means that the probability of success is greatly diminished - if not impossible.

Success Principle  Discussion -
Success Principle

29. Ibid.
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