The Perceived Value

A powerful influencer of project success



By Massimo Pirozzi

Rome, Italy


In each project, and specifically in those projects that are characterized by high levels of innovation and/or complexity, the success is based on the stakeholder satisfaction about project delivered value, which, in turn, is intrinsically a combination of a generated value that is incorporated in the deliverables and of a business and/or social value that is perceived by the stakeholders. This paper focuses on the effective management of perceived value, which, being purely stakeholder-centered and, therefore, subjective, requires a specific professional approach, also to draw out those stakeholder expectations and cause-effect relationships that are often unexplored, and/or unexpressed, and/or even hidden. Ultimately, this paper explores issues that are relevant to the subjective nature of the projects, to the process of value generation and delivery, to the stakeholder perspective – covering the concepts of invested, generated, perceived and delivered value – , and then proposes an approach for the effective management of the perceived value via the use of proper Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).


When we deal with stakeholders who have a neutral behavior toward our project, which is characterized by a reluctance of being engaged, which, in turn, often manifests itself and materializes in delaying signatures on progress reports, acceptance tests, or even on payments,  we generally hope that this is due to a very rational stakeholders’ will of postponing a due date in order to gain some financial advantage, while, unfortunately, this phenomenon  is often due to some stakeholder unease about perceived value, which, if it is not promptly and properly managed, may rapidly become a nightmare in terms of impacts on project success.

In fact, while the project deliverables are generally based on the fulfillment of project/stakeholder requirements, which are somehow known because they are written in a contract, in a Statement of Work, or similar, the project perceived value is always based on the satisfaction of stakeholder expectations, which, at least as regards stakeholder purchaser community (Pirozzi, 2017) – i.e. customers, users, contracting organizations, etc. –, are mostly unknown or even hidden.

Although “all projects are made by stakeholders for other stakeholders”, and, therefore, include essential subjective components, the management of the diverse stakeholder subjectivities is often under evaluated or even missing. In addition, the dichotomy between project/stakeholder (objective?) requirements and stakeholder (subjective!) expectations may lead to harmful misunderstandings, and it may become a basic cause for projects lack of success and/or failures (Pirozzi, 2019). Indeed, possible misunderstandings are because, while we consider natural and/or normal that stakeholders have one-sided behaviors in accordance with the diversity of their interests, we tend to consider the projects as if they are neutral – maybe because in the depths of our being we hope that. In other words, while we feel uncomfortable when dealing with stakeholder expectations, because they are subjective, we feel more comfortable when dealing with project requirements, which we tend to consider as objective… although they are intrinsically not.

Actually, project requirements are nothing but stakeholder requirements, and, moreover, requirements are the result of a complex, non-linear, and affected by semantic noise mediation among diverse subjective expectations, which, although it has been initially somehow agreed when stakeholders signed the contract, can be evidently interpreted differently by diverse “stakeholders at stake”. Furthermore, requirements have a dynamic nature too, and this can be either positive for the project, if they are managed accurately and properly during all project life cycle, or negative for the project, if they diverge from what it has been “apparently” agreed before, so that, in most of these cases “scope creeps” phenomena arise, or, definitively, as it happens quite often, the result is a combination of positivity and negativity that is very difficult to manage.

In any case, since, especially in complex projects, success is closely tied to the satisfaction of both stakeholder requirements and expectations, understanding properly the intrinsic subjectivity of project nature become essential. Indeed, at least for the different key stakeholder communities of purchasers and investors (Pirozzi, 2017), all projects are operational means to achieve, via the delivered value and the consequent outcomes, their different strategic business and/or social goals – it is noted that for these key stakeholders the projects are means to achieve strategic goals, and not strategic goals themselves! – and thus, a fortiori, they are perceived accordingly.

Above concept has two fundamental subjective effects:


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How to cite this paper: Pirozzi, M (2021). The Perceived Value: a powerful influencer of project success; PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue II, February. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/pmwj102-Feb2021-Pirozzi-Perceived-Value-a-powerful-influencer-of-project-success.pdf

About the Author

Massimo Pirozzi

Rome, Italy


Massimo Pirozzi, MSc cum laude, Electronic Engineering, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Principal Consultant, Project Manager, and Educator. He is a Member of the Executive Board and of the Scientific Committee, and an Accredited Master Teacher, of the Istituto Italiano di Project Management (Italian Institute of Project Management). He is certified as a Professional Project Manager, as an Information Security Management Systems Lead Auditor, and as an International Mediator. He is a Researcher, a Lecturer, and an Author about Stakeholder Management, Relationship Management, and Complex Projects Management, and his papers have been published in U.S.A., in Italy, and also in Russia; in particular, he is the Author of the innovative Book “The Stakeholder Perspective: Relationship Management to enhance Project value and Success”, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton (FL), U.S.A., October 2019. Due to the acknowledgement of his comments on stakeholder-related issues contained in Exposure Draft of The Standard for Project Management – 7th Edition, he will be also included in the list of Contributors and Reviewers of The PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition.

Massimo Pirozzi has a wide experience in managing large and complex projects, programs, and portfolios in national and international contexts, and in managing business relations with public and private organizations, including multinational companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, research institutes, and non-profit organizations. He worked successfully in several sectors, including Defense, Security, Health, Education, Engineering, Logistics, Cultural Heritage, Transport, Gaming, Services to Citizens, Consulting, and Web. He was also, for many years, a Top Manager in ICT Industry, and an Adjunct Professor in Organizational Psychology. He is registered as an Expert both of the European Commission, and of Italian Public Administrations.

Massimo Pirozzi is an Accomplished Author and the International Correspondent in Italy of PM World Journal. He received two 2019 PM World Journal Editor’s Choice Awards for his featured paper “Stakeholders, Who Are They?”, and for his report from Italy titled “PM Expo® and PM Maturity Model ISIPM-Prado®”. He received also the 2018 PM World Journal Editor’s Choice Award for his featured paper “The Stakeholder Management Perspective to Increase the Success Rate of Complex Projects”.

Massimo can be contacted at max.pirozzi@gmail.com.

To view other works by Massimo Pirozzi, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/massimo-pirozzi/