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November 11, 2022

What Makes a Successful Project?

Construction projects involve some of the most interesting and complex environments.

In the construction industry; time, cost, and quality have long been defined as the basic elements to measuring success. Those are still key factors but the increasing uncertainties related to labor, inflation, and material shortages have reinforced the urgency to look deeper.

Starting in the 1950s, project scheduling problems based on the assumption that the development of better scheduling techniques would result in better management and thus the successful completion of projects has been focused by most of the work in project management.

Today, construction projects come with significant challenges for both the client and developer to be able to deliver a successful project.  New design parameters must address increasing complexity to satisfy tougher and tougher requirements such as government regulation, environmental concerns, labor shortages and rising material and energy costs. 

In addition to those headaches, each stakeholder has their own measure of a project's success.

  • For an architect, a project success is based on the aesthetic performance.
  • For a contractor or subcontractor, project success is likely measured by profit.
  • For a developer, success is when the project is completed on time, within budget and quality is satisfied.

There is a strong argument that the overall long-term success of a project is tied to the satisfaction of each stakeholder.  

Success can also be defined as much better results than the expected or normally obtained, in terms of cost, schedule, quality, and safety.  On a deeper level, a project is considered an overall success when the project achieves the technical performance specifications and a high-level of satisfaction concerning the project outcome among organization, project team, stakeholders and ultimately the end users.  However, this concept remains somewhat elusive as there is generally not an up-front agreement among all parties on what the critical success criteria on a construction project should be. 

In a 2016 study called “Critical Success Factors For Construction Projects”, the following ranking was created based on the research of the writers.

  • Cost 16.3
  • Time 16.3
  • Quality 16.3
  • Management 12.2
  • Technology 10.2
  • Organization 10.2
  • Satisfaction 8.2
  • Safety 4.1
  • Environment 4.1
  • Resources 2.2

But it’s more complex than that, the study broke the overall success into four primary categories:

  1. The first dimension has a short-term goal of project efficiency which is meeting cost/time goals. 
  2. The second dimension has a medium-term goal of customer success which is meeting a technical specifications, functional performance, and solving the customer’s goals. 
  3. The third dimension has a long-term goal of commercial success and gaining increased market share, generating confidence, satisfaction, and also influence.
  4. Finally, the fourth dimension has a very long-term goal of preparing for the future in developing new tools, techniques, products, markets, etc.

Other, important sub-factors related to stakeholders are also identified.

  • Company image
  • Organizational experience 
  • Size/type of previous projects completed
  • Past performance
  • Management and technical aspects 
  • Turnover history
  • Adequacy of labor and turnover

Makes sense!

When I look at the factors involved from DigiBuild’s perspective, technology, our technology, can play a major role in improving long-term project outcomes!


DigiBuild is a blockchain-enabled construction project management platform. Our customers manage workflows such as procurement, budgets, schedules, contracts, and payments. DigiBuild allows for collaboration across 50+ disparate construction stakeholders – all on a single platform. 

We are the first to merge our construction management expertise with blockchain technology to create the world’s most revolutionary technology, bringing risk management and visibility to your projects.

Through verifiable collaboration, we eliminate risk, disputes, save time, and create a healthier and happier global construction industry. 

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