Before we define the project success criterion for a project we need to understand what is the meaning of “success” of a project in hand. Further before we define the meaning of success for our project we need to ask “In whose eyes?” There are many stakeholders in project and every stakeholder has some imagination about the success of project. As a project manager we do not know what is the imagination, expectation of a particular stakeholder. What should be do? Ask! To whom? Stakeholders! Which stakeholder? All key stakeholders. Now question is when should I ask the expectation of stakeholders?
We know human being learn and adapt with time. Once you start project without understanding the expectations of stakeholder then it may be possible that their expectation change and you are unaware. Now in the absence of documented and agree expectations if a complaint is registered then this complain is because of his original expectation not met even after we delivered what has to be delivered or because we made something wrong? If you write expectations at the start of a project, then what happens to new stakeholder added or existing stakeholder moved out of the project during project life? Answer to this is success criteria should be keep defining and refining from the project charter stage to planning stage. If your project management methodology is not waterfall, then you may not have a single planning stage and whenever you are planning in project lifecycle you should define and refine expectations. Here I am not telling you about defining and documenting requirements. Here I am telling you about writing test-cases and defining metrics. Test-cases should pass and value of metrics should be as per stakeholder expectation. More about the difference between and inter-relationship between project requirements, acceptance criteria, success criteria and project metrics I will write in future articles.
Few examples of project success criterion are given below.
- All the agreed functional test-cases should pass
- There should not be any critical or fatal defect in the product
- Project should be delivered within +/- 1 week of the agreed time.
- Resource utilization in the project should not be less than 70%
- Project should be completed within +/- 5% of the baselined cost.
- Productivity of team for ABC work should be x unit/day
- Project risks should be managed within the risk budget allocated for it
- Project should finish with in the cost budget or ceiling limit set for it.
- There should not be single regulatory compliance issue
- There should not be single serious process compliance issue
- During project resource iteration should be less than 2%
- Minimum 75% of the leaves granted for the project staff should be utilized by them in project life time.
- Overall customer satisfaction should be more than 90%
- Overall team satisfaction should be more than 90%
- Not more than x number of 1st level escalations and y number of 2nd level escalations in project life time
- During project life it should lead to new business opportunities worth x amount
Remember, if you cannot measure it you cannot manage it. If you want to manage success, then you have to learn to manage it. You have to come up with metrics, track those metrics, report those and improve those.