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Defining project success: A multi-level framework


Paul Bannerman



This paper proposes a multi-level framework for defining project success that had wide application in practice. There has been much discussion in the literature on the definition of project success but no consensus has emerged. A key problem to be overcome is a multiplicity of expectations of projects and perceptions of their performance. A reference framework for project success would support development of the discipline by providing a common language for communication and comparison as well as facilitating focus on what stakeholders believe is important. The framework is developed from a synthesis of the literature and related stakeholder interests. The framework comprises five levels of success criteria: process success, project management success, product success, business success and strategic success. Project success is defined as the highest level achieved at any point of assessment regardless of performance at lower levels. Application of the framework is illustrated with case examples of information systems projects but the framework is applicable to any discipline.

BibTeX Entry

    publisher        = {PMI},
    author           = {Bannerman, Paul},
    month            = jul,
    year             = {2008},
    title            = {Defining Project Success: A Multi-level Framework},
    booktitle        = {Project Management Institute Research Conference},
    pages            = {13},
    address          = {Warsaw, Poland}


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