The Success of Failed Projects

Project success is a topic which is certainly widely and often discussed, with an array of opinions of what project success actually means. You will find a lot of articles as well as academic research, attempting to conclude on a definition for project success.

Traditionally, project success was measured by reviewing the targets for scope, budget, time and quality, commonly known as the “Triple Constraint” or “Iron Triangle” (Figure 1).

The concept of the Triple Constraint requires balancing of scope, budget and time constraints towards acceptable quality
Figure 1: The Triple Constraint

Experience and research showed that such approach is insufficient and that there are further dimensions to consider.

Yet, such a definition for project success remains inconsistent within the project management domain, incl. what success criteria generally should be applied to projects.

Since projects are per definition unique endeavors, also their success factors and criteria are of unique nature and depend on subjective perceptions and definitions. As a result, a generally applicable definition of project success across different industries and project types is not really possible.

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Marcus Glowasz
Marcus Glowasz
Marcus Glowasz is a project management specialist, coach, and advisor. He works with leaders and organizations to build data-literate and evidence-driven project teams and pave the way for data-informed and AI-supported project work. He is the author of the book "Leading Projects with Data", which provides invaluable insights on overcoming cultural and behavioral barriers to achieving success in data-driven and evidence-based project delivery.