On the subject of project success



By Dr. Hugo Minney

12 December 2023

Ref: Stretton, A. (2023).  Questioning “project success” as a realistic descriptor for outcomes successfully achieved by other participants at various stages of organisational strategic management processes, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/pmwj136-Dec2023-Stretton-Questioning-project-success-as-realistic-descriptor-final-review.pdf

 Dear Editor,

Alan Stretton rightly argues (in ‘QUESTIONING “PROJECT SUCCESS”’ Dec 2023) that the success of a project happens outside of the control of the project manager. And herein lies the primary reason why project managers resist benefits management – we are control freaks!

Benefits come about when “those done to” change their processes and behaviours. Whether passive (the new process is the only way available) or active (there are choices), human beings can resist change.  Benefits simply won’t happen if “those done to” resist too hard.

Does this absolve the project manager from either credit or blame?

The project manager (or project management team) should be rewarded or punished for the part that we have control over.  However, it’s my opinion that project managers should also take responsibility for the success or otherwise of a project, from the point of view of its value to the organization.

Project leadership has enormous power to create conditions for change. Not just to deliver the physical building or connected ICT, not even to just provide the training and information, but to understand what is important to whom, to make decisions on the capabilities of the solution so that it addresses what’s important, to offer motivation so that the change comes about.  In other words, the project manager is responsible to influence the realisation of benefits…


To read entire Letter to the Editor, click here

How to cite this work: Minney, H. (2024). On Alan Stretton’s project success paper in the December PMWJ, Letter to the Editor, PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue I, January Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/pmwj137-Jan2024-Minney-on-Stretton-December-project-success-paper-Letter-to-Editor.pdf