How Do You Gauge Success in a Project?

27 Dec

Success can mean different things to everyone.  For example, if you completed the tasks you set out for your day, then that most likely means a success to you.  So what makes a project successful?  Is a project successful by answering yes to any of the below questions?

  • Does the project meet the established time and budget criteria?
  • What beneficial impact does this project have on the customer?
  • Has the project meet its return on investment?
  • Has the project altered the infrastructure of the organization to increase future business success and customer impact?
  • Is it simply enough just to the complete the project?

Main Four Items that are Success Measures with the Ability to Complete the Project:

  1. According to the desired specifications outlined in the project plan
  2. Within the specified budget
  3. Within the promised time frame
  4. Maintain keeping the customer and stakeholders happy

Importance to Measuring Success

  • If you cannot measure the SMART goal, you cannot control it, but which if you can’t control it, you cannot manage it.
  • Ability to assess the current performance to monitor and control the project to make sure the project object is met on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of stakeholders
  • Adjust any project initiatives during the project to take action sooner, rather than later
  • Set goals to achieve an objective
  • Ability to anticipate any potential deviation that needs to be corrected
  • Is the quality of the product the project is delivery up to expectations
  • Improved quality of communication by keeping everyone informed, on track, and involved in the project

Tools to Help You Measure Project Success:

  • Give a survey to the stakeholders in a project to see what feedback you receive
  • Have a lessons learned session
  • Complete a SWOT analysis on each element of the project (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)
  • Project Budget Comparison between the beginning and the end of the project
  • Project Schedule:  Was the project completed on time?
  • Project Scope Outcome how the stakeholders expected?
  • End-user opinions of the project

What other tools do you use to measure a successful project?

Image Credit


6 responses to “How Do You Gauge Success in a Project?

  1. Dale Myers

    December 27, 2011 at 11:00 am


    Thank you for sharing the post (which I found via Twitter).

    I think you have covered the “hard” measures of success. I think there need to be “soft” measures – such as project team satisfaction. You want team members to have a good, challenging project experience. Satisfied team members will look to be part of future projects – and, you can cultivate them to be core members on other initiatives. They will also talk well about the project and your leadership skills – spreading good will for you in the organization. Unhappy project team members will never look to volunteer to work under you again, talk poorly of the project – and, in general they often lose motivation.

    During and after a project finishes I measure team satisfaction (via an anonymous scorecard), and I publish the results. I also like to do team 360 degree feeback sessions. I just think there is more to a project than the traditional measurables.

    Thanks again (sorry for my mispellings).

    Dale M.
    Pinole, CA USA

  2. Lisa Drake

    December 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Thank you so much Dale for the comment! I could not agree with you more, as your project team members plays such an important role in making a project successful or not, thus always a factor to keep in mind while managing a project. Thanks! -Lisa

  3. Robert Bellarmine

    March 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

    “Project managers function as bandleaders who pull together their players each a specialist with individual score and internal rhythm. Under the leader’s direction, they all respond to the same beat.” – L.R. Sayles

  4. Couteaux pradel

    July 4, 2012 at 7:30 am

    great tips..thank you for them.

  5. Rollator Walkers

    December 12, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Hello, thanks for pointing this to me…this post really helped me to make clear some things.

  6. Acoperire piscina

    January 17, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Good tips. It worked for me just fine.


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