Project Success – 6 intangible reasons why projects are successful
it's smart to understand and analyze why projects succeed so that we can replicate the success strategies.
7 December 2016


There are numerous articles on the internet that talk about why projects fail, but few talk about project success. It is true most projects fail to deliver what they had intended to achieve and some are abandoned mid-way. We can continue discussing on and on why projects fail and what to do about them. But it is smart to understand and analyze why projects succeed so that we can replicate the success strategies.

Terry Williams, PMP and Dean of Hull University Business School, produced a research paper on why and how projects succeed.  His research doesn’t only measure success using the traditional criteria of a well-run project (time, cost and quality) but he goes further and provides six intangible criteria for the success of a project.  So, let’s have a look at these 6 reasons or causes that make a project successful:

Company Culture

Does your company have an open culture with a flat management structure where despite everyone’s job position (or at least everyone’s ideas) are treated equally? Or Does your company have a rigid, multi-layered, hierarchal management structure where one needs numerous authorizations to get the work done?  If your company has adopted the former approach, then you are on the right track. But in the latter case, there is some room for improvement.

The single team approach

Also called the whole team approach is a style of project management in which everyone (client, subcontractors, designers, senior managers and other stakeholders) on the project team is held equally responsible for the quality and success of the project. It is a collaborative approach where all the team members (in-house team members and external contractors) with the necessary skills and knowledge will do their best go accomplish the tasks or objectives thus contributing to the success of the project.

Project Setup

First identifying objectives or goals. Second, defining the plan or process. And then identifying the right stakeholders and decision makers before the launch of the project or at least very early in the project allows them to be engaged in the project. Stakeholders, users, clients and various team members who have understood the result of the project and what is expected of everyone, paves the way to an efficient project setup. Thus, avoiding unnecessary issues and changes in the future.

Customer satisfaction

For a project to be successful it is vital to keep customers involved throughout the project with subsequent quick response times to their queries and concerns. Customer satisfaction consists of delivering the promise made initially to the customer. A consistent partnership, collaborative engagement and exclusive relationship with the customer contributes immensely to the success of a project.


Most team do their best to maintain good relations with every team member. But many forget to maintain good and professional relationships with their subcontractors. Very often we take them for granted and don’t consider them as a team member but rather as an external service provider. It is true, they are external service providers but including them early in the project and considering them as your own team has its benefits. For example, when applying for a bid, involving them can create a feeling of “if we win it, you win it”, thus leading to fruitful partnerships.


Just closing a project by organizing a handover meeting is not enough. Once the project has ended, a peaceful and efficient transfer of the project to the operations team and allowing the project team to stay involved with the operations team for some time (from few days to few months) is very important for the success of a project. Delivering the project without any follow-up is like abandoning a new born baby after birth.