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Project vs. project management perspective

Knowledge about and understanding of these concepts, as a basis for understanding different aspects of project success/failure.
Cubes hovering in the air with a hand grasping blow them.
© Luleå University of Technology

It is important to understand the differences between project and project management success, which at a first glance seems to be the same.

  • Project management success overall refers to efficiency, i.e. fulfilling the constraints in the “project triangle”.

  • Project refers many times to effectiveness, i.e. to obtain project and impact goals, satisfying customers and other stakeholders.

Hence, a project can fail despite successful project management, i.e. dissatisfied customer and stakeholders. A project can also be successful despite poor project management, however, that is not common.

Example of project vs. project management success or failure is a project with the aim to make a working process 50% more efficient within two years, based on a new IT-system.

  • Project management success because the project goal is fulfilled, i.e. developed and implemented a new IT-system, according to the specified constraints of budget, time and scope.

  • Project failure because the system did not support the working processes in a way that made the work 50% more efficient, within the two years.

Another example of project vs. project management success or failure is the project of building the Sydney Opera house, Australia.

  • Project management failure because the project exceeded time and cost constraints (the project was actually completed ten years behind schedule and with more than 1000% budget overrun).

  • Project success because the building became a landmark for Sydney, with massive of tourists every year to Sydney, making different stakeholders satisfied (even if cost and time limits were exceeded heavily).

© Luleå University of Technology
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