Episode 30: The difference between project success and project management success

In this week's episode of Project Management Paradise Johnny discusses the difference between project success and project management success with Rich Maltzman from EarthPM.com.

Rich has over 26 years of experience in Project Management and has a strong focus on sustainability within Project Management. He has his PMP and teaches at the University Level. Rich co-founded EarthPM in 2008 and has written 2 books and also blogs regularly. He started his career as an engineer and now is in his 38th year at a major telecom where he has vast Project Management experience and currently leads this Global PMO comprising of several thousand Project Managers.

During the course of the interview, and as well as explaining the difference between project success and project management success, Rich gives examples of how each type of success can be measured.

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Excerpts from Episode 30: The difference between project success and project management success

Sustainability and Project Management is one of the most recent topics I’ve been working on. And our book Green Project Management was the Winner of PMI’s 2011 David I. Cleland Project Management Literature Award.

Rich has also published a follow up book titled ‘Driving Project, Program and Portfolio Success’ which is a more procedural and directive publication. It uses a tool called the ‘sustainability wheel’ for assessing whether organisations are considering longer term sustainability in executing their projects.

‘Project success’ and ‘Project management success’ are two related but different things. “Project success” is the successful completion of the ‘change’ we seek to implement. The project may be a new accounting system or the building of a bridge. ‘Project success’ would mean ensuring that we do have a new accounting system that works for a long time or that we do have a bridge that is in operation for future generations.

‘Project Management Success’ would mean delivering a Project on schedule, within budget, in line with the quality and other specifications. Often, we may be preoccupied with ‘Project Management Success’ to the extent that we actually lose sight of the ‘Project success’. Our focus is on the end date of the Project rather than the long-term viability of the product of the project.

Identification of long-term Risk is a key element in ensuring that we reach long-term ‘Project Success’ through managing the project successfully. It may be about ecological concerns and sustainability or the safety and the long-lasting capability of the product. For example, if you are a coffee machine maker producing machines which requires users to use coffee cups that do not decompose for hundreds of years… then you are not thinking long-term project success. Your project management will be successful but project itself is not supporting sustainability.

Efficiency refers to Project Management Success where being within budget, timely execution and ensuring delivery of all specifications is considered.

Effectiveness refers to Project success where one considers if the product actually performs the way it should and is long-lasting and is supports sustainability.

Show Notes

Connect with Rich on LinkedIn

Visit the EarthPM website.

Read Rich’s Projects At Work Blog 

Benefits Realization documents from PMI: Identify benefits to drive results  and Focus on benefits during project execution

Books by Rich: Green Project Management and Driving Project, Program, and Portfolio Success: The Sustainability Wheel