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Project Management Critical Success Factors

Info: 9202 words (37 pages) Dissertation
Published: 9th Dec 2019

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Project Management Critical Success Factors


Over last couple of decades, companies have grown bigger and more complex and hence the significance of project management is more than ever. Over the time researchers and practitioners have attempted to identify the causes of project failure and the various factors that lead to project success. Project Management can also be seen as being about managing change (Cleland, 1995; Bourne and Walker, 2004) and project managers should consider themselves as change agents adding to the Project Management role an additional focus on so-called ‘soft’ aspects of relationship management (Bourne and Walker, 2004).The importance of project management in today’s time and criticality of its success it the reason to choose those topics. As a group we would like to identify the factors that are critically important for the successful completion of the project so that as a project management professional we can implement/identify those factors and leverage them in our projects. One of the factors, KRA plays a major part in in delivering a high standard of quality, in order to achieve the goals of your project. Having clear CSFs helps the project team clarify what needs to be worked on first or needs special attention, allowing people to work together to achieve the project’s main objectives. By digging deep and researching on what are the critical success factors and why they are so important for any team or project, we as a team can learn and be successful in this and any other projects we face in future.

1.Project Scope

The process of supervising a project from its start to complete execution is called project management. This is realized with the help of successful methods which makes sure the project is executed efficiently, these methods of project management are used in planning a project with required goals, designing the steps of execution, defining the resources like time and money needed for the project, executing the project and delivering it.

The project management process simplifies the execution of project and defines the resources needed for the venture. However, for successfully managing a project, the project manager should consider the factors that affect the process of dealing a venture. Some of the most important aspects that influence project management are project scope, defining goals and timeline of the project, role distribution, communication between team members and contingency plans for lost time (Schiff, 2014).

Project scope:

scope of a project is achieved through analyzing the project completely and defining the aspects in a project like needed resources, tasks that needed to be performed, project goals, costs incurred in the project and deadlines. This is planned before the whole project management process as an overview of a project that can be presented to the client.

Role management: managing the project is complex task and it should be carefully supervised, to successfully manage the project, the project tasks should be distributed among the team based on their ability to perform the assigned task. This also simplifies the supervision of the project.

Goals and deadlines: executing a project consist of several tasks that should be performed in various stages and setting those goals and deadlines for every important stage of the project allows the project manager to view the progress of the project (Hallman, 2011).

Meetings: to review the project status, the project manager should conduct frequent meetings or communicate with the employees. This allows the prompt completion of project by motivating them, as well as solving the issues occurred in executing the project.

Contingency plans: the project plan never goes as planned and diverse types of unexpected issues delay the project. To limit the effect of these delays, a project management team should consider contingency plans and extra time for changes in project .Planning.

Project planning and scheduling comes into the play after once the project is approved, that helps the well maintenance of the project and deliver it successfully on time.Time is the major factor, which is defined in the project management term “scheduling”. Scheduling reflects all the work that is done and delivering the project on time. Project planning is a part in scheduling that helps to cope the resources to be on top of their work in achieving the deliverables on time. Project planning needs to consider the project complexity and project size.


Introduction Communication Communication plays main key role in project management critical success factors, conversation is an essential process in the world of project administration. Application communication is important for good results. One true thing is scheme managers to get the message across right the first time to avoid failures in the communication process.transmission is an needed process in the world of enterprise authority. Example, project team members feel better to interact with all managers, team leads, business analyst and client. Communication is more important for good results, it will helpful for clear understanding on requirements or feature requirements. In meetings, when you discussion on technologies for requirement. If you interchange or collaborate with team members, project will go smother way. If you do not interact with managers, team lead, team members, we will not get adequate results.One common thing in job, team members will give daily meetings or standup meetings. In meetings, team members give update to team lead or scrum master. Every one answer to three questions, one is what did you do yesterday? second one is what will you do today ?,  do you have any impediments on your work ?. so, this is communion plan.

Communication Ways and Methods

We have different advise medias to carry message. Mostly team members will use good communication media, skype for business, outlook, WebEx.Connection will improve project’s development, expectations. Any typical requirement in a project is going on than will contact or collaborate all are team members including with manager and business stake holders, team lead. That gives good solution because of everyone share, their ideas or opinions and advises on requirement.if you assertion daily, everyone gets flow on project. Than, they will get good command on project or application.In the complete world of project board nowadays. Translating is life of the project.Efficient communication is play to the success of applications, coding, and portfolio. The correct information shared to team members through interchange. Communication should helpful and timely, clearly. Commonly if something effect on scope, time, cost, risk or quality of work, it pass escalating through the apt communication approach.Project knowledge transfer to stake holders or team members, we have number of options use to share information. One is by paper means hard copy document, second one is by electronic communication means email, skype for business, outlook, WebEx, telephone, voicemail.

Multiple communication arrangementsAs of my experience on communication, we have multiple communication mechanism like face to face communication, push communication, pull communication.

Face to Face Communication Two or more team members participate in a meeting, that is face to face meeting. They will exchange ideas, opinions on specific requirement and discussion on particular technologies for requirement.

Sent Communication Whatever, you sent information, reports, memos, letters to manger, business analyst, team lead and team members through intercommunication.

Pull Communication In case, if you are in learning curve in project. Team will provide some e-learning websites that is called pull declaration.Manager decides, when we use dissemination requirement used to be in a project.Eventually, communication is big thing in project. The ways of interaction will take main place. The declaration plan equals to project plan or application plan.

Top Management Support.

Top management support and involvement is a critical factor and needs to be there throughout the life cycle of the project. Top management identify and establish strategic objectives, provide funding, manage and mitigate risks, take critical decisions and put efficient, right resources at the right time to ensure that project management is successful which in turn positively impact the organization.


What is a project budget?A project budget is the cumulative sum of resources, usually money, which is allocated to specific purposes within a project for a specific time frame. The project budget is allocated either simultaneously, or in parts. The budgets can either be scalable or non-scalable.According to Vilanueva(2011), “From the inception, the project plan might change numerous time, hence the budget is bound to change as well. Therefore, it important or the project managers to have a pre-emptive plan which considers the possible budget changes and get the approval before hand. This will help with the project continuity without any interruptions. When there are multiple stake holders involved with the project involved with the project and funding it quite large, it can be quite cumbersome to get the approval process done quickly. HenceImportance of Budget Usually, the project budget decides the scope of the project, and vice-versa. Project budget determines the direction of the project, which includes the resource allocation, time management and flexibility in deadline. A project is high budget usually accompanies longer duration and has the flexibility to hire best of the best in the field as well as more resources, if needed. It also determines if the resources hired are for short-term contract or long-term/permanent. Project managers also have more wiggle space to use more sophisticated and proprietary tools in a high budget project. However, a high budget project also means there are more than one stakeholders involved, probably more than five, and hence approval process is time consuming. A low budget project on the other hand is of short duration and is accompanied by tighter deadlines. However, we have make a differentiation here by not confusing low budget project with under budget project. Which a low budget project can be equally challenging and satisfying to work, an under budget project can be quite stressful and with low work satisfaction levels within the team.How to budget a project According to McDowell(2001), “As every organization differs from one other, there is no one shot solution for project budgeting. Every organization has their own policy and guidelines regarding handling the project cost. So anyone responsible for determining the project budget has to make themselves familiar with the proper budgeting procedure and tools.” One needs to consults the experienced project managers and member of the finance team to be able to come up with a realistic budget. Some of the information that need to be considered while creating the budget:• Cost estimate of each activity: This includes the estimation of each component of the project which includes labor, tools and technologies, equipment, services, etc.• Keeping the scope as baseline: It’s important to keep the scope as baseline because any activity going beyond the scope of the project might not get the appropriate funding• Schedule: A product schedule will let us know if the the budget is confirming per the schedule. If the schedule shoots over the deadline, the budget is also going to get expanded.


Standards in Project Management: To help a build a successful project, the project management should follow some industry approved standards. They help in building the project in time, budget and most effective and efficient way.For a successful completion of the project, it is recommended to create a structure of project work starting from the analytical research existing at the enterprise or recommended by standards and guidelines on project management approaches to building a hierarchical structure of works, templates of project work structures. It is noted that the created structure of project work should be audited by participants of the project office.

Monitoring and Acceptance

The Monitoring and Controlling process in Project Management oversees all the tasks and metrics necessary to ensure that the approved and authorized project is within scope, on time, and on budget so that the project proceeds with minimal risk.Monitoring and control process involves comparing actual performance with planned performance and taking corrective action to yield the desired outcome when significant differences exist. Monitoring and Controlling process is continuously performed throughout the life of the project.

Client Consultation:

Why we must consider the management consultancy is an extraordinary and why it has been successful. There are two reasons, first management skills, techniques and knowledge are the best learned and experience with many organizations. Second clients turn to outside consultants and primarily for new ideas, proficiency and mainly for objectivity. There are six reasons why management consultants make sense in many situations. They have an experience in outside the client, they are professionals, independent and they have the capability to create an action based on their recommendations.

Relationship between the consultant and the client:  There are around eight actions which specifies the relations between the client and consultant. Firstly, delivering information to a client, solving a client’s problem making a diagnosis, which make redefinition of the problem, adding suggestion based on the diagnosis, helping with implementation of recommended actions, developing a consensus and commitment around a corrective action, facilitating client learning andpermanently improving organizational effectiveness. Client will always not straight forward, they look for different types of needs, expectations, influence and degrees of participation in the consultancy. Mainly consultant should clearly know about whom they are working for and fact the team all the time in the project. Considering experiences from the clients’ and consultants is more important in detail, initially consultants should understand the relationships from the client’s point of view, and then the clients.Most of the clients will use the task process to maintain the client and consulting relationship. Task process will follow certain rules like contract role, clarification, data generation, prioritization, follow-up and few actions. There are few types of clients like contact client, this kind of clients will contact the consultants with a request, question, or issue. Intermediate clients, these clients will conduct the interviews, meetings and the other activities to the individuals or groups who are involved with the client. Understanding a project, deadlines and goals is important to every project team member.It is a crucial factor for project success. To achieve the success in project communication is most important but also between the team and the rest of the organization and the client. To deliver the good quality of the project every consultant must be committed to their goals in the project and be involved in the project management process. There are few poor client-consulting relationships to be notified like insufficient clarity, miss communications, failure to give the roles

What clients say about consultants: Clients will always look for new ideas and expert’s advice, clients will also expect that consultants will transfer their personal ability to the company. Clients will take their own decisions on which consultant to hire are based on the performance, and the consultant’s will also understand the potential that client’s looking for.

Change Management

“Change management is a procedure, tool and technique to manage the people side of change to accomplish a required business result.”Now technology world every day some new technologies are used for complete organization requirements for that all changes are unique and all unique ideas you can update your Business models or update your business environments.The different acts of management of change contain a great collection of managerial interferences and when they are executed properly and frequently within and outside managerial events, they enhance the performances and effectiveness of individuals and organizations. Change management as a joint activity can increase effectiveness (Zelenkov, 2016). Change management has become an important process which should be managed for individuals and organizations to survive (Samuel, 2013).There is some individual change management, organization change managements or enterprise change management capability.

Personnel Selection and Training

Till now we have gone through multiple critical success factors like scope, Communication, Budget, Planning etc. Success is nothing but measuring the effectiveness and the efficiency of outcome. For the output of the project to be as efficient as expected, We, apart from all the above said factors, need to take care of personnel working on it as a team. Because after all, no matter how well planned or budgeted, it can be only accomplished thorough well-trained personnel who are suitable for tasks involved and skills needed. So, we need to spend a significant amount of resources on the selection and training process, for the employees to be well equipped with knowledge needed for successful completion of the project, as we do for all other success factors discussed above. After we lay out the plan and all the requirements, human resources should focus on hiring, managing and organizing till the project is officially ended and hopefully successfully. Successful human resource management is the base for the organization to succeed on a bigger picture and individual projects too. Human resource management have 3 important tasks to perform to ensure the success of the project they are: selection, training and management.

Personnel Selection

Personnel selection plays a very vital part in any organization success let alone project success. The process of the selection and people that are selected to be in the project team are basis to any project success. It is very important to lay down all the skills that are going to be needed in the project. This way we can chose the right people for the right job. If we are not successful in selecting right people for right job, we are end up wasting a lot of money, time and other resources on the personnel that are not fit for the project. The most vital, first and foremost selection into a project team is the team manager. Because team manager should be the one who should analyze the whole project and come up with the skills needed and no of personnel needed for the project success. This information gathered through combined effort of HRM team, Project manager and project team members helps human resources team to select the people that are good fit for the positions and the skills needed in the project.According to Harold &. Kerzner, (2013) “a team manager should be well experienced with resource management, objectives and should be able to take up responsibilities. A manager should be the one who learns from the mistakes from the previous projects and never repeat them again in the future.”  So, it is very important to hire a well experienced and really good manager to ensure that the whole team is balanced technically and morally and that the skills needed for the project and team member selected for those skills are up to date.


Training is another task that is added to the duties of Human resource management. Project team should be trained for them to develop the required skills and competencies for the project to be successful. We have many areas where a project team can be trained before they get into project. Few of the topics that can be included in the training are information Security, Latest technologies in the field, Communication, Human relations, Quality Initiatives etc. Training both Project managers about the project management and team members about how the work can be done efficiently using latest technologies helps us reach our goals more quick and efficient. Training is the process of developing employee induvial and in turn the company by raising the technical standards of its employees. The time taken for training may affect productivity of the employees for time being. But it is proved to be worthwhile. According to Garel, Giard, & Midler (2001),” HRM team, while training must imagine that Team members do not have enough knowledge and skills for their project to be successful.”  Project managers no matter how successful they were with their previous projects, need to be trained a lot of times. Because every project is a unique project and project manager need to be up to date for each new project. Project Management is a role in which people should be well versed with the technology and information systems. This means that people need training on technical aspects before beginning a project. Though the training process takes up a lot of time and resource, after each session, the people involved with the project team (if they are internal employees), develop individually and that in turn helps organization having successful future projects.With growing worldwide competition in every industry it has led the project managers to do more with less, and thus intentionally taking more risk, which leads to the need for tighter project controls to succeed. Further, recognizing that project management tools and techniques have evolved over time to enable more reliable and effective project performance raises the need to consider what best steps project managers should go through to maximize their probability of success, and gain a competitive advantage in marketplace.Project managers should know how to determine which project management tools and techniques are best for their projects. Project managers must also understand how to continually balance a project relative to all of its major constraints like project scope, schedule, budget, resources, risks, and product quality. Not only during initial planning, but throughout the project. They should also assign the right project managers and develop people for good project performance.Thus, more and more project managers are becoming armed with a good understanding of how project risk management interrelates with other project and what they should do for initial project planning and ongoing project management. The basic objective of project risk management is to increase the likelihood and impact of positive events that affect the project that is opportunities and to decrease the likelihood and impact of negative events that affect the project that is risks and threats.Risk impacts the objectives of almost all humanactivities thus implying the threat of loss. Risk is present in every aspect of our lives; hence, risk management is universal, but it fully relies on predictions made with inherent uncertainty that takes into consideration the range of probabilities that some condition may or may not exist.Risk management is the realization that many organizations have goals and objectives to continuously improve to be increasingly more competitive in all the marketplace(s).Project risk management go through all the establishment of a risk management plan, identifying risks, analyzing risks, developing risk responses, and controlling risks provides a necessary foundation for effective overall project management.The major things that matters in risk management is SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) It is important to understand the major project priorities, and how to evaluate and compare project risks to facilitate project decisions.To overcome all the major risk the companies should establish Risk Management Plan(RMP) before starting any projects. RMPs are typically documents that describe how risk management will be structured and performed on the project
Top Management SupportTop management support is crucial and highly impacts the project performance. Critical top management support processes include assigning efficient project manager, good communication between project manager and organization, defining project success measures, top management involvement throughout the project life cycle, use of standard project management software and efficient project resource planning (Zwikael, 2008). Top management identify and establish strategic objectives, provide funding, manage and mitigate risks, take critical decisions and put efficient, right resources at the right time to ensure that project management is successful which in turn benefits the organization.Top management plays a key role in the organization’s strategy formulation such as implementing goals and initiatives considering resources and internal, external impact on the organization (Hyväri, 2016). Clearly defined goals and strategies, detailed implementation process, top management support of resources, regular monitoring, efficient communication among all the stakeholders, ability to handle blockers are critical success factors for project success and top management support is required for all the factors (Anantatmula, 2010). According to a research study that involved 500 projects, top management support, clearly defined goals and efficient project team are the critical success factors (Larsen & Gobeli, 1989).Senior management is a key stakeholder for any project. Projects initiated by senior management have a high success rate because it follows top-down approach where the top management involve in the project from the beginning and set the objectives that meet the requirements and they go down the organizational hierarchy. Improvement in project performance is not possible without the top management support. Project performance can be measured in scheduled performance, cost performance, quality performance and stakeholder satisfaction. Support from top management increased the performance in all the four areas (Ahmed, 2016). There is a significant relationship between project performance and top management support. Top management has strong influence and impact on innovation, motivation, training and helps to prevent ambiguity and conflicts within the project (Zqikael, Levin, & Rad, 2008). This results in customer satisfaction and project successSome of the top management roles in project management areManaging Risks: It is important for the top management to involve in the project throughout its life cycle. Planned and unplanned risks and issues might come up at any phase of the project and top management helps in mitigating the planned risks and handling the unplanned onesProject Funding: Funding is another area where top management support is essential. Project has less chances of success without enough budget or the project will run out of funds in the middle of the projectCross Functional Cooperation: Cross functional cooperation is required for any project as multiple functional silos and teams will be involved in a single project. Top management can enable the support from different teams to work in an effective wayProject Governance: Senior management must ensure that organizational strategies and goals of the project are aligned. If there are any conflicts, they need to be resolved in the early stage to deliver the project within the estimated budget, time and scopeKey Decisions: Top management takes key decisions such as authorizing change in the scope, permission for schedule overrun. They take the inputs from all the stakeholders to make crucial decisions that can change the direction of the project and their decisions have a major impact on project successProject Management Critical Success Factors A Standard can be defined as a set of knowledge areas that are generally accepted as best practices in the industry”. Standards in Project Management as a whole may seem like an extra time adding to the project. You may think why don’t we just jump in and get started with the real work? This may seem easy but is in fact incorrect. A properly managed, executed and monitored project saves more time in the long run. Also, a proper plan and follow-up project will prevent mistakes or unplanned events that could occur unexpectedly.While there are many standards out there in the industry we can also have our own standards for project management using the guidelines set by these standards organizations. We can say that, to enable the organizations to identify, measure and develop the project management capabilities and determining the best practices and solidify the link between strategic planning and execution.

Types of Standards

Currently there are two different standards types for project management. They are,


PMBOK majorly developed by International Organization for Standardization (ISO), “ISO 21500” is the standard for project management.The current version is “ISO 21500/2012” is a specific set of standards for project management. It is more like guidelines. ISO 21500/2012 focuses on project management, processes and management areas, and compliant with PMBOK guidelines.


PRINCE2 is short form for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, which is a standard project management method and user certification program.Its main aim is to differentiate the project and then divide it into small divisions to manage them easily. This system is adapted in countries like UK, western European countries, and Australia.PRINCE2 has seven main principles, seven themes and seven processes.Seven main principles are:

  • Defined roles and Responsibilities
  • Manage by stages
  • Manage by exception
  • Focus on Products
  • Tailor to suit the project environment
  • Continued business justification and
  • Learn from experience.

Seven themes are:

  • Business Care
  • Organization
  • Quality
  • Plans
  • Risk
  • Change
  • Progress

Seven Process are:

  • Starting up a project
  • Initiating a project
  • Directing a project
  • Controlling a stage
  • Managing product delivery
  • Managing stage boundaries
  • Closing a project.


Project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) is a standard methodology for managing a project. It is available in the format of a book which is called as guide, which is under Project Management Institute (PMI).The latest Version includes Agile Practice Guide and it is process based.This approach follows other standards as ISO 9000 and Software Engineering Institute’s CMMI. This is widely accepted and used standard for most of the project managements. PMBOK has 3 main phases,

  • Inputs
  • Tools and
  • Outputs

PMBOK has five process groups,

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and controlling
  • Closing

And ten knowledge areas,

  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Schedule Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality management
  • Project Resource Management
  • Project Communications Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Procurement Management
  • Project Stakeholder Management

Benefits of Standards.

There are many advantages of using standards in the project, some of them are,

  • Reliability: As we thoroughly scrutiny then project from starting to the end, there is a less scope for errors, as we can also have enough time to revisit and correct the errors if there are any, with best practices available. So, the project will be reliable.
  • Consistency: Once we set the rules/standards for the project, it automatically becomes consistent as the process can be made into standard project management process.
  • Reusability/Repeatability: Since in the project we set the guidelines and templates for the work, risk and issues and status running in the project, there is possibility that they can be reused to save time.
  • Efficiency: By using reusability, the time saved, and risk avoided and etc. can be considered, because it is increasing the efficiency in the project.
  • Predictability: Work becomes predictable to anticipate all the shortcomings in the project and how to avoid the, because a standard process will have a record of what worked before and what didn’t and what got resolved.
  • Relatability: When in a project, if all the processes and methods are same, everyone in the organization at different levels can work more effectively.

Customer Satisfaction:  When the project has constant results, you can much more precisely estimate how much time and budget project is going to take. By delivering continuously we can let the customers know that they can depend on the organization.


The culture of an organization is its identity, it defines what an organization is capable of in an ever-growing competitive world. Corporate culture/Organization culture and project performance go hand in hand. The impact of organization culture in project management is once such area that is often taken with a grain of salt by individuals involved in a project, and for many it is a gray area.  Project Managers across the globe overseeing different projects often encounter challenges posed by a culture that is toxic.  A toxic culture within an organization is a sure sign of failure and wastage of resources. For a project to be successful various factors like project scope, planning, budget, time, etc., play a significant part. Modern day projects are complex, involve greater risks and require lot of man power (skilled and unskilled). The work force that is utilized to complete the various activities in a project are in many ways directly responsible for the outcome of the project. The project’s outcome solely relies on these individuals and on how they apply themselves to a project environment. The individuals that are part of a project, come from different backgrounds, expertise and culture; this diversity of work force striving to achieve one common goal defines the organization culture. In Project Management, organization culture can be considered as a critical success factor. The kind of environment that is required to accomplish the primary objective of a project is created and maintained by organization culture right from project initiation till closure. The culture reflects the adaptability, accountability, ingenuity, and integrity of an organization, these four support systems for organization development and their relation to project management are discussed further in the report..


Adaptability is about change and flexibility. Change is inevitable, but how an organization perceives change defines its culture. Consumers and market demands are not constant, they change, and companies must catch up to beat the competition. They must satisfy the customer time to time and this can be only achieved with an openness to accepting the change in trend, demand, technology etc. An adaptive corporate culture would create a psychologically healthy environment with improved involvement, cooperation, communication, and coordination across different hierarchies in the organization resulting in good gains and achieving mission objectives.


Accountability is about doing the right thing, at a right place and time. It is about demonstrating the highest level of responsibility and ownership necessary to achieve a desired outcome without deviating from the original scope.


Integrity is about the values and best practices that a company incorporates in delivering a product or service. It is important to have an organizational culture which focusses on ethics and being truthful to the mission.


Ingenuity is about thinking outside of box to stay competitive and to innovate products that would set a trend in the market. A creative mindset of employees and encouragement for innovation from the corporate leadership would drive a company to aim for challenging goals. It is important for a company to have a culture that believes in innovative missions because it gives longevity to the organization in the market.Conclusion 


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Project Management involves leading and directing a team towards a common goal, ensuring that all aspects of a project are completed successfully and efficiently. Project Management can include the use of various processes and techniques, using knowledge and experience to guide the team towards the end goal.

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