Project Success Vs. Project Management Success

project success, benefits realisation, triple constraint, project management

What is the difference between project success vs. project management success? 

I believe it is dependent on how you view success in relation to the triple constraint and benefits realisation. 

For many years the triple constraint of time, cost and scope have been the measures of project success. A project managers job is to manage these three project attributes to meet the related project KPI’s. Therefore meeting the triple constraint is project management success. It has been the focus for years as it is easier to measure within the life-cycle of the project. 

However clients and end users can view a project that completed on time, within budget and to scope as a failure. This can happen because they have not realised the benefits of the project. Therefore benefits realisation is the real measure of project success. 

Why Manage Benefits Realisation

Benefits of a project may not be realised until years after the project has been completed. The project team will have moved onto the next project by then. The benefits are effectively out of the control of the project team and in control of an organisations operations team. 

So why should project managers care about benefits realisation? Because it is a measure of project success and ultimately can affect the reputation of the project and project manager. Therefore a project manager needs to plan for benefits realisation as part of the project outputs and KPI’s. The plan should include handing responsibility over to operations (or possibly a PMO) to measure. This will at least give some probability of success.

How do you ensure that the benefits are monitored and measured to determine the realisation? If you are a PM in the organisation it should be easy to follow up with the ops team. If you are a contracted PM I suggest putting a reminder in your calendar and touching base with your client to check how things are going.

What project management methodologies provide tools and techniques for benefits realisation? Prince2, AgilePM, AgileBA, PMI PMBOK, PMD Pro, Change Management, Praxis Framework? Good question, stay tuned for a follow up insight that will investigate which methods address project success vs. project management success .

By Lachlan Mollison – Latsa General Manager

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