Success for one person can still be seen as failure in the eyes of another. Show me a successful project and I will show you at least one stakeholder who thinks the project failed to meet their expectation.
Over the course of a project, stakeholders change their mind about what is important to them, re-evaluate their priorities, and reset their expectations.
Even when you start the project with all stakeholders on the same page and all agree on the project goals and success criteria, there is no guarantee that by the end of the project they will all still hold the same view.
That’s the reality of projects.
As a project manager, you will live a life of misery if you expect everyone to have the same definition of success and failure, no matter how hard you try.
You have to invent your own definition of what constitutes success to you personally. I am not worried about your organization, project stakeholders, or project team. This is about your own definition of your success.
Whatever your definition of success is, it should never be tied to the outcome of your projects. Instead, it should always be about your continued development and growth.
Are you continuously moving forward? Do you keep raising your game? Are you taking your performance to the next level with every project? That’s what really matters at the end of the day.
Yes, you should learn from failure. That’s how we grow.
Just remember that, sometimes, there is really nothing to learn from failure except how to avoid getting thrown under the bus.
In my next post, I will explore why “there is really no such thing as failure, only feedback” and why it takes a village to fail a project
Speaking of success, I highly recommend you check out Scott Ambler’s 2010 IT Project Success Rates survey results. You will find out that we are not as bad as we are made out to be after all.
As always, if you have any comments, questions, concerns, or rants, – or you just want to say hi – please feel free to leave a comment below.
To your project success!