How to Achieve Total Project Success


I love it when disciplines come together! I attended a workshop on the integration of project management and change management from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Seminars World. The focus of the workshop was on creating total project success through a comprehensive project management framework. I had the opportunity to not only learn a framework for total project success, I got to collaborate with managers from Honda, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Uber, Honeywell, and a many more. A big thank you to Thomas Luke Jarocki for an enlightening workshop!

In this blog post I summarize the five factors for total project success, the project management framework, and my major takeaways.

5 Factors for Total Project Success: 

1.) On time

2.) Within budget

3.) According to scope/specifications

4.) Broad organizational & user adoption

5.) Value realization

Project Management Frame work: 

  • Phase 1: Project initiation
    • Assess whether or not there is an worthwhile opportunity to consider pursuing
    • Secure the necessary financial political, and human resources support
  • Phase 2: Assess alternatives
    • Develop a variety of alternatives (options) to realize the solution
    • Select and gain buy-off on the most attractive alternative
  • Phase 3: Detail design
    • Develop designs that reflect stakeholder needs and drive organizational value
    • Gain the necessary buy-in of the detailed designs before further committing time and resources
  • Phase 4: Build and Final prep
    • Often times a long and expensive phase, good PM skills are paramount
    • Don’t underestimate the time and effort to develop and pilot the peripheral support material as well as primary driver of change
  • Phase 5: Deploy/Implement
    • The primary objective is adoption and utilization: deployment is simply the delivery vehicle
    • Stabilizing the current state as quickly as possible will go a long way when it comes to sustaining the change and realizing benefits
  • Phase 6: Support, sustain, enhance
    • Have ownership of the project outputs adopted and utilized to create value
    • Explore how to enhance the long term value of the initiative

Lessons Learned: 

  • If I can sum up my biggest takeaway  it is that “Projects are the vehicle of change.”

1.) Phase gates: are a formal process where a project review board reviews the work of the project team

  • Activities involved in closing out a phase gate:
    • The work to date is of high quality – ” Inspect what you expect”
    • Other points of view or different solutions were not overlooked – socialize recommendations
    • Key issues and risks are being identified and addressed
    • Understand what the path forward looks like
    • Ensure there is alignment amongst key stakeholders
  • Key decisions to close a phase gate:
    • End- the project is over or will no longer be funded
    • Suspend – the project is put on hold until other issues are resolved
    • Re-work – project team need to augment or improve upon the quality of their work
    • Conditional proceed – the project is given the green light on the condition particular revision are made to the project or work
    • Proceed – the project is given the green light
  • Example questions:
    • Do we have alignment on the scope/purpose/objectives for the next phase of work?
    • Has all work been completed in a satisfactory manner? Are confident we won’t have to rework anything.
    • Do we have to modify our governance structure/project processes for the next phase?

2.) Stakeholder management

  • Overall I saw using this approach as a clear method on satisfying the end-user adoption and other stakeholder management issues well before deployment so operational disruptions are minimized and business value realization can occur much sooner.
  • Below I outline how stakeholders should be separated and when to consider engagement within the project.
  •  Tier 1 Stakeholders: Senior leader and key decision makers
    • Facilitating the adoption of a program, project or change vision and commitment the resources required prior to occurrence of any change.
    • Participate from phase 1 to phase 5
  • Tier 2 Stakeholders: Project contributors
    • Facilitating the adoption of the program mission, working processes, and required effort.
    • Participate from phase 2 to phase 6
  • Tier 3 Stakeholders: Change recipients/ users
    • Facilitating the adoption of a change that is a result of a project or program
    • Participate from phase 3 to phase 6


Jarocki, T. L. (2011). The Next Evolution–enhancing and Unifying Project and Change Management: The Emergence One Method for Total Project Success.

Photography: Hillary Barker. and on Insagram: @Iwillshoot



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