Project Success Factors

Topics: Project management, Management, Project manager Pages: 6 (1810 words) Published: June 5, 2013
The research on project management has been studied for decades. Many scholars and managers put great efforts into finding out what can influence project success. Through their continuing work and precious experiences, what factors dominate the success of projects is well documented in literature. The use of these guide texts can help project managers to deal with difficult tasks. Moreover, it is unanimous consensus that project critical success factors are necessary for management team to achieve project objectives and ensure success. If they are well considered and addressed, then it is more likely that a project would have more successful outcomes. On the other hand, if these factors are not rigorously taken into account, then may lead to the failure of a project. However, it is sophisticated to implement all success factors which usually involved in a broad aspect of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques. Furthermore, during the whole project life cycle, the key factor determining success or failure often varies in different project phases. In real practice, different elements contributing to the project success interact with each other. They are integrated rather than segregated. Therefore, managing a project is a challenge. Even though the approach of managing a successful project is well documented, it is extremely hard to apply in practice. In addition, there are many other elements can affect the success. When working on a project, social, economic and environmental effects should be considered. This discussion paper aims to distinguish the differences between project and project management success and find out their relationship. In addition, why the success factors often ignored in practice and other social impacts which may influence project success will be discussed.

Definition of project and project management
In order to discuss what factors can affect the project being successful, we have to understand what a project is and what the project management is. In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (POMBOK Guide, 2000), a project is defined as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The purpose of the project is to attain its objective and then terminate.” Temporary and unique are the standard features of projects. Temporary does not mean a short period of time. Some projects may last several years. It can be comprehended as every project has a beginning and will be terminated when it meets objectives. Each project is unique because it is a creative activity which has not been done. For example, the construction of a stadium is a project. Though there are thousands of stadiums in the world, each of them has different location, design and owner etc. The POMBOK Guide (2000) defines the project management as “the application of knowledge, skills tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirement.” The management involves a wide range of work including scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communications, and risk management. Munns and Bjeirmi (1996) mention some differences between project and project management. Project can be simply defined as a task which can benefit a company. In contrast, project management focus on planning and controlling the process to accomplish the task on time, within budget and high quality.

Project and project management success
Defining project success is complex, because projects feature in unique, every project success is measured in different ways. Wit (1998) makes a definition that “the project is considered an overall success if the project meets the technical performance specification and/or mission to be performed, and if there is a high level of satisfaction concerning the project outcome among key people in the parent organization, key people in the project team and key users or clientele of the project effort.” This means the type of a project determines the most...
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