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Project Management Training Podcasts

Mar 21, 2013

Many people taking the APMP get confused between success factors, success criteria and KPIs. The jargon is very similar but the understanding the difference between them is not just important for passing the APMP exam. In this video we explain these terms using the simple story of a birthday cake. 

Project Success Criteria

These are the factors against which the overall success or failure of the project will be evaluated. So for example for a birthday cake this includes if it looks and tastes good, is it delivered on time, does it have the right number of candles. These success criteria can only be evaluates once the project is finished. For a real project the success criteria are that the project is delivered on time, with in an acceptable cost and to a quality fit for purpose. 

Project Success Factors

Are those ingredients which have to be in place for the project to be a success? For a cake this would be a working oven that has a stable and even temperature, sufficient skill in the cook to follow the recipe effectively, the right and fresh ingredients, sufficient eggs and good quality flour. Without these things then the cake project will fail. For a project success factors things such as resources, clear requirements and the support of senior management. These things need to be in place if the project is going to be successful. Without them it is difficult, but not impossible, for the project to succeed. The factors increase the chance of the project achieving its success criteria. For this reason it is useful to identify and actively manage the success factors, as these of the things that the project manager can influence during project delivery. 


These are the returns that come from the completion of the project. Ideally they should be tangible and monetary, although many projects also have many intangible benefits such as brand awareness of an improved environment. For a birthday party this would include happy children, happy memories in the future when you look at the photo.


KPI are measures of progress or quality in the project. So this could include progress against the plan, the stability of the oven temperature. On a typical project this will be number of milestones completed or actual expenditure in a month compared to the plan 


This video podcast is just part of our APMP project management training course


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