Problems Associated with Defining Project Success
Abstract The paper establishes the relation between the problems associated with defining the project success criteria at the project initiation phase to the potential challenges when it comes to the project execution and close out. A targeted literature review identified; 1) basing the definition on narrow set of criteria, 2) using ambiguous criteria, 3) having competing or conflicting criteria, 4) in adequate or incomplete set of criteria, 5) using unrealistic criteria and 6) Considering all the criteria as equally important (not-ranked criteria) as the most important problems in defining the success criteria. The study relates and analyse the effects of these problems and their inheritance in the execution and evaluation phases of the projects. A web-based survey in the Norwegian industry initiated to investigate the effect of six success criteria definition problems on the: (1) Lack of top management support (2) Lack of alignment in the project organization to project success criteria during execution phase. (3) Subjectivity of measuring the achievement of the targeted success criteria at closeout and evaluation phase. The survey managed 155 respondents with a very high data reliability. The survey revealed and further testified the literature findings that there is very strong correlation between these problems related to defining project success criteria. The research also indicated thatthese problems are mostlyrelated to poor or inadequate stakeholder‘s involvement during initiation phase, lack of alignment of the organizations to project success and poor top management support.