Avani Makwana
Avani Makwana
Avani Makwana
Key controlling parameters for project success

Published on April 30, 2016

While I hear certain common questions frequently that what are the most important parameters that play key role in project success or what should be one’s focus areas to become a successful project manager; I think there are few common areas which when blended with balanced mixture for different types and sizes of projects as required; results the flavor of success for most of the projects.

Briefing key criteria to be precisely tracked, measured and analysed at defined time interval to ensure you are playing your role of managing the project effectively.

Scope: Irrespective of whichever execution methodology being followed throughout the development life cycle; defining and then adhering to the scope plays very important role for controlling other success measuring parameters.

Defining high level scope during blue printing phase helps budgeting the project, identifying high level risks and planning risks’ mitigations, defining quality measuring criteria and definition of done (DOD) for major functionalities at high level, forming appropriate skilled team and setting customer expectations at early stage.

During execution phase as well, it is very important to keep close track of scope defined vs. implementation done. This stands applicable to scrum planning in case for agile or requirement gathering or prototyping phase for waterfall or equivalent.


Quality: Sustainability, Stability, Scalability and Satisfaction is not possible without quality deliverables. Monitoring, Measuring and Controlling product quality continuously drives towards a successful product. It is important that right from the most junior team member till the project head are committed to quality measures. Maintaining quality is a process of continuous adoption and improvement that helps controlling other key successors and builds foundation of success!

Use right tool for tracking quality parameters. Make sure non only functional but also non-functional, UI, UX, architectural, infrastructure setup, environment, hosting related parameters are considered in quality measures.


Risks:  Irrespective of various flavors and densities of complexities involved, I have hardly experienced that journey of execution life cycle is smooth. We are leaving the in the world of uncertainties and this impacts everywhere! Risks do exist where technology, nature calamity, social uncertainties and humanity exists and you will have to deal with them as a part of your project management art! An efficient project manager’s quality is to identify risks, plan contingencies and mitigation actions and avoid turning those risks into issues. Effective risk planning is one of the key parameter of project success within scope, timeline and meeting quality measures.


Schedule variance:  Schedule variance derives how much behind or ahead your project is running at given point of time so keeping track of this parameter is essential.

Formula for the same is here:

Schedule variance (SV) = Earned value (EV) – Planned value (PV)

Scheduled variance % = Schedule variance (SV) / Planned value (PV)

Earned value = Earned Value is the value of the work actually completed to date. I.e. the value that the project has actually produced till given time.

Earned value is also referred to as Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP).

Earned Value = % of completed work X Budget at completion (BAC)

Planned value = Approved value of the work to be completed in a given time. I.e. the money that should have been spent or authorized budget assigned to work to be accomplished as per the schedule till that time.

Planned value is also referred to as Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS).

Planned value = (Planned % Completed) / Budget at completion (BAC)

So in simpler term, Planned Value shows you how much money you have planned to complete the work in a given time, while Earned Value shows you how much work you have actually completed or earned on the project.


Effort variance: While schedule variance answers deviation from schedule and cost perspective, at primary level, keeping close track on efforts spent helps a lot in meeting satisfying schedule variance.

Effort variance derives difference between planned efforts and actual efforts spent to complete the task at given point of time.

Effort variance = ((Actual Effort – Planned Effort)/planned effort) *100


Process: This is yet another deciding factor for project success but also overlooked by organizations of a specific mindset and the same way neglected by a set of customer as well. But it is very important to use Right, Effective and Precise process to plan, define, organize, monitor, measure, communicate, control, analyze and forecast various blocks of your project during execution life span.

Make sure you balance out here considering the schedule, efforts, cost and quality like factors. Follow this rule – Keep it Simple. Smarter.  Sharper.

Some of the important processes to be considered are here:

–       Define WBS

–       Define DOD

–       Plan Sprints / Releases

–       Track efforts and variations against planned efforts

–       Manage scope

–       Manage schedule

–       Manage quality

–       Monitor issues

–       Maintain Risk Register and manage risks

–       Measure variances

–       Measure through Matrices

–       Measure productivity

–       Measure burn rate


People: The most important asset of your project!  First, choose the right team – a team with right attitude, team whom you can trust, team who has hunger to achieve something, a team who is sound in their respective technology, and a team with learning attitude! Tell them what you want to do rather than how you want to do and be open for ideas and thought sharing. At the same time, give them right set of advice and share vision of your goal. Understand that team of young and enthusiastic people have ability to do wonders!

Communicate with them. Understand their problems. Reward them. Help them. Give them required resources. Stretch them to extend their abilities. Support them. Spend some time in informal environment. Celebrate with them. Give them relaxing time.

A happy team can only deliver success with sustainability.


Reference URL for SV:http://pmstudycircle.com/
Image credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/