Since 1967, project management researchers have been trying to determine which factors lead to project success (SEELIG, SEPTEMBER 1967) and have reached to conclusions that widely speculated in literature for project management practitioners. In spite of these significant research results and despite decades of personal and combined experience of handling projects despite the fast growth in membership of project management project results continue to disappoint stakeholders (The Standish Group Report, 2003). So what are the determinants that lead to better project success?
(Cooke-Davies, 2002) Firstly, stated that project management success is not the same as project success. Project success (measured against the overall targets of the project) and project management success (measured against the typical and traditional measures of performance against time, cost, and quality). The second statement is also important- it is the difference between success criteria and success factors. Success criteria (the measures that determine success or failure of a project.) and success factors (Inputs to the management that lead directly or indirectly to the successful completion of the project).Today, many companies focus on project management, as it targets on achieving project objectives. It is important as it gives managers a good opportunity to succeed in achieving goals.
(Nelson, 2007) Examined 36 reasons of failure among 99 projects. He identified ten best practices to avoid failure. His research is consistent with the findings from the widely cited (Standish, CHAOS Manifesto, 2013). The Standish Group's research on over 50,000 completed IS projects shows an increased rate of IS project success. For example, in 2004, only 16 percent of IS projects were delivered on time, on a budget, and with promised functionality compared to 39 percent in 2012. As expected, the percentage of project failures (canceled projects or projects finished but never used) remained steady 18%. Whereas, the percentage of 'challenged' projects has decreased from 53% in 2004 to 43% in 2012. Challenged projects (project that are delivered over time, over budget or missing promised functionality.)
Continuous learning and development are considered to be the highest level an organization can reach regarding project management maturity. Failure to learn from mistakes has persistently been a major hitch to improve Project Management.As (Boddie, (1987) stated"We talk about software engineering but reject one of the most basic engineering practices: identifying and learning from our mistakes.". Failure to learn from mistakes has persistently been an obstacle to improving project management. A postmortem is a formal way of evaluating performance, gathering lessons learned and suggesting recommendations. Looking back at past projects is important because it improves organizational learning, better estimation, and scheduling enhances team building. One of the reasons why looking back into the past is rare is the human nature to put the past back and move on to something new. Though technology is rapidly changing the best practices for IT projects, haven't changed that much. The more general managers know these practices, the more likely we will be able to deliver more successful projects in future.
The future of project management requires being more successful frequently. But what are the factors that contribute to project success, does the project succeed if it meets the three constraints, if it turns a profit, if it adds to the overall value of a project, or if it aligns itself with the organization's strategic objectives? Must the project satisfy all the three criteria's, some of them, which ones? Is the project a success if it delivers the client satisfaction if it advances the project managers career if it pleases the management? Whose opinion counts? This paper examines the broadly differing perspectives about project success criteria and presents few factors to improving the odds of project success.