First and foremost, all projects must deliver value to their stakeholders, especially their key stakeholders.
Why else would we be doing the project in the first place?? Sometimes value is easy to measure, and other times it can be more qualitative in nature.
I’ve seen different definitions of value, and to me it’s a ratio of the benefits produced by an action and the total cost involved.? Benefits and cost certainly include monetary measures, and they also include everything else that has an impact on stakeholders.? Morale, risk, sustainability, general well-being, etc. are also a part of the equation.
Value from what perspective?
It’s also an equation that is different for every stakeholder.? This is one reason why it’s so important to identify the key stakeholder(s) up front and understand explicitly what their goals are.? Something that creates value for one stakeholder may take some value away from another.? You can’t please everyone all the time.? It’s a balancing act, and in that mix the key stakeholders get priority when there are competing interests.? In the end, it’s that key stakeholder or group of key stakeholders who you need to deliver value to.
Delivering to what requirements?
In some circles, fullfilling the requirements and delivering the project on time and on budget are the only factors of success. If you delivered what you committed to (in a contract or otherwise) you’re golden.
Poor requirements elicitation and/or not involving the key stakeholders during the project can easily result in a product delivered to specifications and within time/budget constraints, and yet the product is not valuable to the key stakeholders.? When this happens, it’s the project manager’s fault.
Systems in delivering value
I’ve seen individual managers who didn’t think of themselves as project managers, had no formal methodology, and delivered value.? Perhaps they could have done even better with some guiding theory to approach the work with.? I can tell you the number of people who can deliver projects well without a system is small.? The more complexity you introduce, the harder it becomes to deliver value.
I’m sure (I hope) this will generate a lot of discussion, so please leave your thoughts on this attribute of project management in a comment!