Published here April, 2007.  

Introduction | What Constitutes "Success"? 
Product Success | Hazards | The Lesson

What Constitutes "Success"?

As Brian K. Willard points out:

"Project success tends to be measured by the big three: Cost, Time, and Requirements being met because these are easy and timely to measure. With standard project management techniques, you can identify at any given point in the project management process whether you currently have a successful project, or a challenged one. That is: 'This focuses upon the project process and, in particular, the successful accomplishment of cost, time and quality objectives. It also considers the manner in which the project management process was conducted.'[4] However, this does not deal with the issues facing the project manager under many current business conditions. 'Clearly, the old adage of on time, on budget, and (even) conformance to requirements are not, of themselves, satisfactory success criteria.'[5] "[6]

And Baccaini opines:

"It is common for project management literature to confusingly intertwine the two separate components of project success [and product success]."[7]


"No system of project metrics is complete without both sets of measures (performance and success) ..."[8]

In other words, to assess the success of a project you need to not only look at the project management process, but also the success of the product. Clearly, if the product is not a "success" then the project was not a success.

Introduction  Introduction

4. Baccarini, David, The logical framework method for defining project success, Project Management Journal, 30 (4), Project Management Institute, PA, 1999, pp. 25
5. Wideman, R.M., Improving PM: Linking Success Criteria to Project Type, Available On-Line at: p1
7. Baccarini, 1999
8. Cooke-Davies, Terry, The "real" success factors on projects, International journal of project management, 20 (3), April 2002, p188 (pp. 185-190)
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