A recent article told project managers that their primary goals should be (in order) …
- To deliver the project on time
- To deliver the project on or under budget
- To deliver the business requirements (number 3 ??)
- Ensure the business users are happy
- Ensure the project team members are happy.
Frankly, I could not believe that this had been published in 2010. So I wrote back with my five goals for project managers… "If we look at projects from a business value perspective, rather than a project delivery perspective, the five goals that matter to the business are…
- You deliver what I need to realize the business value available
- The solution is usable, reliable and cost-effective to operate
- Opportunities to increase the realized value at little to no cost have been seized
- I can take the project's outputs and easily realize the benefits, and
- I can build on the project's deliverables to extend the value to the business at a minimum cost.
On-time/on a budget are measures of project efficiency, not business value. Until we take a business perspective, we'll continue to disappoint our business partners.”
However, this exchange does illustrate a critical point – that few project teams are aware of the business’s measures of success. And then they wonder why they are not seen as successful (however well they have delivered the project).
An exercise we do with Project Governance Teams is to get them to identify.
- their own measures of success for the project – and then
- the business users’ measures of success for the project.
When we then add the project’s “on time/budget/to specification” measures — to end up with three sets of different success measures – all of which are valid and all of which need to be met. (Often they are surprised that the three sets of success measures are so different.)
If you don’t clearly know the governance team’s and business users’ measures of success for your project – your own targeted measures of success may turn out to be ‘own goals’!