16th April 2015

Knowledge Type

Research paper


Timothy J. KloppenborgDebbie Tesch

Of Interest To

Consultants Contractors Leadership teams Operators Private sector clients Public sector clients

How Executive Sponsors Influence Project Success


jon-tyson-h_JZ64MSD_o-unsplashNo matter what stage a project is in, there are established success factors that project sponsors should consider. In the past, project success has been defined by the so-called “iron triangle” of cost, schedule and performance. Thanks to several well-known studies that have tended to build on each other, our understanding of project success has become broader yet more specific. Essentially, there are three important success factors. The first involves customer impact: specifically, the extent to which the project creates deliverables that meet the needs of the project’s customers — whether those customers are internal or external to the organization. Meeting customer needs is almost always the most important success measure. The second success factor involves meeting agreements: Was the project completed on time, on budget and to specifications? The third success factor is tied to the future benefits to the company — be they new technology, new products and/or commercial success.

The authors of this study conducted separate studies of each of the four project stages (initiating, planning, executing and closing), with literature reviews, focus groups, surveys and factor analysis in order to examine executive sponsor behavior and project success factors.  In each project life-cycle stage, we found that two or three behaviors had a significant impact on the project success factors.