First of all, let’s discuss the differences between Success Criteria and Success Factors. In general terms, the former refers to what you want to achieve and how it will be measured, whereas the second refers to the assets and/or resources you possess or need to reach those criteria. Therefore, it is best to start listing each criterion you want to or need to achieve in any project, process, or activity, whichever way you organize your work, determines what you have at your disposal, or is acquirable, to meet the criterion.
For example, let’s assume you are launching a new product or service within your business; the relevant success criteria and factors would be:
|Success Criteria||Success Factors|
|· Sales of $50,000 the first year||· Effective marketing and sales plan
· Marketing and Business Development staff
· 4 additional sales staff
|· Add industry “X” to client portfolio||· Assigned client manager
· Efficacious marketing and business development strategies
|· Increase staff by 20% within the first year||· Proven sales increase within 6 months to support increased staff payroll
· Recruitment plan and strategies
|· Give myself 2 extra weeks of vacation per year||· Revenue increase by 3rd quarter
· Senior manager on staff
· Internal processes in place
As you can see, the success criteria basically list the goals you want to meet and prove that the project, activity, process, etc., was worth the time, effort, and cost incurred. You have to determine what you need to reach or excel past that success point for each criterion. And once this exercise is complete, you can estimate all the resources needed, such as personnel, equipment, materials, capital, and time required, as factors, to meet your goals. This second exercise needs to be as honest and thorough as possible. In other words, you need to be as conscientious and truthful as possible to determine if the factors are within your reach; either currently at your disposal or through procurement. Because an inaccurate assessment of the factors will hinder the accomplishment of the criteria, you have established.
Michael P. Doherty, PMI-ACP, has a long history of business development, financial strategies, and planning. He has launched and managed several ventures personally, so he understands the challenges of managing day-to-day operations in an uncertain environment. He strongly believes in adopting Agile methodologies to deliver customer value early and often consistently. His combined startup background, along with Agile expertise, allows him to help his clients deliver products in an efficient, cost-effective manner to meet the ever-changing needs of their users continually.
Success Criteria vs. Success Factors
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