A retrospective look at our evolving understanding of project success

Kam Jugdev, Ralf Moller

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Our views on project success have changed over the years from definitions that were limited to the implementation phase of the project life cycle to definitions that reflect an appreciation of success over the entire project and product life cycle. This paper assesses our evolving understanding of project success over the past 40 years and discusses conditions for success, critical success factors and success frameworks. The paper concludes with a holistic view of project success and its implications for practice. This is an important topic because projects are an increasingly common way of work, and the lines between project and process work are harder to discern. Increasingly more, project managers work in companies using program and portfolio management as a means to organize project related work. The success of individual projects, therefore, impacts the wider organization in several dimensions and makes the concept of project and project management success that much more relevant. The topic is also important because it has a bearing on the future directions of project management in the strategic context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-127
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Engineering Management Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Critical success factors
  • Product life cycle
  • Program and portfolio management
  • Project life cycle
  • Project management
  • Project success


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