Project Success

Lessons Learned


A study of project successes revealed that in addition to the traditional Critical Success Factors, those factors below were especially instrumental in producing exceptionally good project results.



Success Factor


Convincing Data Relevant data goes a long way in convincing constituents that something must be done. At the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a major reorganization project was motivated by competitive data showing that the hospital was in trouble.
Clear Goals Clear goals must be communicated to all parties including team members and vendors. For strategic projects goals must be aggressive yet within the boundaries of organization risk.
Feasible Scope The objectives of the project must be seen as feasible.
Strong Leadership Skills Leadership must focus on open communication and collaborative skills.
Project Culture Project culture must be consciously created and managed. Boeing created a new project culture for the 777.
Communication The importance of communication both down and up the organization must be made clear. Contingency plans must be made should communication channels close down. The wiring harnesses for the Airbus A380 did not fit during assembly because the Hamburg and Toulouse plants did not communicate during the design process.
Response to New Data Management must be capable and willing to consider new data as the project unfolds even if this data suggests that project strategies must change or that the desired outcome may not occur. Merck failed to withdraw Vioxx from the shelves after its own data suggested that the drug could lead to heart attacks and stroke.
Confidence Management must resist the temptation to be overconfident when planning the project. The design engineers for the Titanic were convinced they were building an “unsinkable” boat.