I received a $30 gift certificate in the mail this week for taking 5th in my age group in a race I did this spring. I was surprised, because it was a big race (around 10,000 participants including walkers) and I didn't think I would do that well. This got me thinking about how we measure success.
In project management, it's always scope, schedule, and budget that determines if a project is successful. But a good project manager knows that isn't enough. The customer also has to be satisfied, but how do you measure that?
One approach I've taken for some time is to define the measures of success as the project is going through the chartering process. This is where key metrics can be identified that can later be used to measure if the project has delivered. In process improvement, the measure can be reducing the number of defects or decreasing the time to complete a process.
So as you're starting off your project, think about all the goals the project should accomplish and how to measure them. With running, my goal is to finish in the top 5% of any race. Anything else is a bonus.