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Project Manager : Project Manager June July 2012
www.aipm.com.au Project Manager 13 Three measures of success 1. Project Investment Success The Funder (representing shareholders, if applicable) needs to know if the overall final performance of the investment was satisfactory. Take the Sydney Opera House, for example. Despite the problems with budget and timeframe, the State Government would probably regard this as having been a good investment because of the significant impact on tourism over the past few decades (even though tourism was not seen to be a driver for the original project). We call this the test of ‘Project Investment Success’ and it is judged by asking a question of the Funder: “Had you been aware of all that has transpired since you decided to proceed, would you still have been prepared to approve this project?”. If the answer is “yes” then the project is judged as an investment success. 2. Ownership Success The Funder also needs to determine if the Project Owner discharged his/her accountability by asking the question: “Did the project turn out at least as well as was described in the Business Case?” If the answer is “yes” then the Project Owner is judged as successful. We call this the test of Ownership Success. 3. Project Management Success The Owner needs to determine if the Project Manager discharged his/her accountability by asking the question: “Did the project unfold at least as well as was described in the Project Plan?” If the answer is “yes” then the Project Manager is judged as successful. We call this the test of Project Management Success. The iron triangle is closely related to the test of management success, but requires an extension before it can be used. The extension takes the form of an additional condition: that the Project Manager causes no detrimental outcomes in discharging his/her accountability. With our tongues slightly in our cheeks, we identify the extended device as the ‘steel tetrahedron’. The judgement These tests give rise to three independent judgements about success. For example, the Sydney Cross City Tunnel would be judged as an investment failure and an ownership failure but a management success; the Sydney Opera House appears to have been an investment success and a management failure (no reliable conclusion can be drawn about ownership because of missing Business Case detail). What does this mean for the practising project management professional? It is suggested here that the measurement framework of project success must be changed, because the traditional approach is flawed at two levels. First, it uses the iron triangle, which cannot be used as it stands to make any judgements about project performance. Second, it assumes there is a single view of success when there are three. We believe our triple test of project success resolves this issue. ••• sYDNEY OpERA hOUsE (ABOVE) Over time and over budget, the Sydney Opera House was a management failure but an investment success.
Project Manager April May 2012
Project Manager Aug Sept 2012