Our new book, Driving Project, Program, and Portfolio Success: The Sustainability Wheel is at the publisher. This post is not meant to be a plug for the book (okay…maybe a little) but more of a recognition that we were on the right track. Again and again, we see references in business and PM literature and discussion groups to an expanded version of project success – a major theme of our first book (Green Project Management) but even more so in this new one. And just as we celebrated getting the manuscript over to the publisher, PMI delivered its technical journal “The Project Management Journal(R) to our door.
Featured both in the “From the Editor” section and in one of the principal articles is this theme of a broadened, more holistic view of project success.
From one particular article, “The Relationship Between Project Success and Project Efficiency (Serrador and Turner, 2015), we have this quote:
The importance of broader success measures for projects is now the norm. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)– Fifth Edition, as an example, no longer just mentions the triple constraint (Project Management Institute, 2013) and now includes project constraints such as scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources, and risks. It also refers to stakeholder satisfaction as well as other constraints that are not mentioned but may impact project success.
Now that the most recent edition of the PMBOK® Guide (Project Management Institute, 2013) recognizes stakeholder satisfaction as an additional measure of project success, it is timely to ask what the correlation is between that and project efficiency. Thus we see there are two competing measures of success on projects, what Cooke-Davies (2002) calls ‘project management success’ and ‘project success.’ We adopt more current terminology, which uses ‘project efficiency’ instead of project management success’ (Shenhar et al., 1997; Shenhar & Dvir, 2007) and define the two competing measures as: Project efficiency: meeting cost, time, and scope goals; and Project success: meeting wider business and enterprise goals as defined by key stakeholders.
As in many other cases, these articles eloquently describe this expanded view, and provide data and references to back up their assertions.
But they almost always leave out the aspect of sustainability – or at least what we would call a full, rich, connected coverage of sustainability in the business sense: economic, ecological, and social sustainability. They tend to focus uniquely on the economic bottom line. Our book takes these ideas conveyed in articles such as the one referenced here and include the aspects of sustainability identified by Sloan/MIT and others in their studies of thousands of business in which triple-bottom-line ‘embracers’ are the ones that are becoming more successful, not only in the altruistic goals of social and environmental justice, but in real, lasting, economic success, higher morale, and – ironically – more efficiently-run projects.
So it’s great for us to note the reaffirmation of white papers like this one for our upcoming book – and we hope you look forward to its arrival and to reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it.
Reference: Serrador and Turner, Project Management Journal 46(1), 30-38