8 Project Success Factors Every Successful PM Knows

Knowing project success factors helps with future projects and prevents failures early on saving both time and money. Being a project manager means that you need a way to assess the projects you are working on and have completed. 

This article strives to provide a list of success factors to help project managers discern what has gone well and what may have been a problem with both the process and the end result.

Project Success Factors

Measuring the success of a project after the fact is important because it helps discern future strategies when planning new projects. Continuous improvement derived from the data gleaned from past projects lets PMs proactively identify any issues before the next occurrence. Using past data means new processes can happen with fewer mistakes and better management success.

1. Satisfaction of Stakeholders

Measuring whether or not your stakeholders are satisfied is important as they have a vested interest in your success. Do you need all the stakeholders happy to gauge success? Not necessarily. 

To assess whether a project is a success or failure, you need to know which stakeholders have to be happy. If they all need to be then getting their input is important. If only some are critical players, that needs to be assessed as well. Key stakeholders can make or break the success of a project so they are who you need to talk to when determining it as a success factor.

2. Target Project Objectives Met

Knowing if your project has met the objectives that were set is crucial. Have the product requirements been delivered and success criteria been met as promised? While you want your customers to be happy with everything you’ve accomplished, this may not be everything they originally asked for but they may still find they have gotten what they need.

Chaos Report from 2006 says that 45% of features built are never used and that only 20% of features were used often or always. So, even though you didn’t get everything your customers wanted, ask if you have still met their requirements. If not, what didn’t you do? What features are critical? Assessing what stakeholders are and are not happy with helps measure overall success.

3. Budget

A third success factor to look at is budget and whether you delivered the project for the budget stated at the outset. The hope is that your company or client got a good deal. You want to be able to both produce a product and meet your budgetary objectives so your success shows. 

In a 2019 survey, results showed that 81% of organizations review budget throughout a project. Similarly,  83% of organizations review changes in time and cost throughout a project. Budget management is clearly top of mind.

Good management demonstrates that you knew how to adjust as the project moved forward and that you kept the team or client informed when changes were needed. Knowing how to manage a budget is critical.

4. Target Delivery

Measuring success includes time management. Hard deadlines are important as they affect others as well. Again, if you need to move a deadline, that doesn’t mean you failed. With communication, you can still attain success. 

Checking with teams about what is a priority and what dates might work can mean success by keeping everyone in the loop. While only 34% of projects get delivered on time and on budget with all specifications met, you can be in this 34% if you communicate well and work with your stakeholders.

5. Quality

If your project is of good quality then you have a higher success factor. You want to understand and meet the stakeholder’s expectations for quality and how to know if you have reached the standard expected. 

If you haven’t, how do you use that data to make sure the next project attains a higher quality? Understanding quality needs means you can effectively work on features, budgets, and timelines to improve things.

6. Team Success

Another factor to use in gauging success is how your team feels about the process and final outcome. Looking at trust levels, contentment, and satisfaction all play into success. 

You get better results if your team feels satisfied. A happy team feels pride in a project well-done which is great for the stakeholders. Knowing how to manage a team for success means the next project is something to look forward to.

7. Client Analysis

While you want your stakeholders or clients to be happy, you have to find a way to gather data to get their overall outlook and satisfaction. Use sliders to do this. Have them rate various success factors so their answers are tangible and not just verbal. Seeing evidence and having the data in front of you means you can see strengths and weaknesses. This pinpoints what can be improved upon.

8. Management Feedback

Feedback from your team is important but it is also important to know what management thinks as well. Knowing what they saw as successful and what may have been problematic is important as they are your bosses and you want to show that you have not only pleased the customer but also met the expectations of those who oversee the business. Set a meeting and ask for feedback.

Final Thoughts

Knowing what success factors matter at the end of a project is critical in not only assessing how that project went but also in making adjustments for the next one. Knowing what makes up success versus failure is important. Using your strengths to build up weak areas means you not only improve as a project manager but as a team leader as well.

Learning is an ongoing experience. Using all these factors to help assess things along with resources such as The PMN Newsletter benefits your future projects as well as your relationship with stakeholders and your team. The more satisfied everyone is, the more success you will have with each future project.

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