ERP Project Success Perception by the Adopters: An Exploratory Study of the Projects beyond Budget and Schedule

ERP Project Success Perception by the Adopters: An Exploratory Study of the Projects beyond Budget and Schedule

Przemyslaw Lech (Faculty of Management, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/jitpm.2013010102
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The purpose of this paper is to determine how the context of the deviations from the planned budget and/or schedule affect the success perception of the project in the eyes of the project management and top management of an adopting organization on a basis of three Enterprise System implementation projects, none of which has met the time-budget criterion. The projects are evaluated against the lists of project failure factors commonly cited in the literature. The results of the study show that deviation from the initially planned schedule and/or budget does not affect the success perception, providing that the project was properly managed and its business outcome is achieved.
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Project Success Perception – Literature Review

Traditionally, the project was considered a success if it was accomplished on time, within the budget and as a result supplied the functionality specified during the project planning. However, these so called ‘iron triangle’ criteria are criticized for being not enough comprehensive for the purpose of assessing the success of complex projects (Chan, Scott, & Lam, 2002; Baccarini, 1999; Lim & Zain Mohamed, 1999). A study among Australian construction industry project managers performed by Collins & Baccarini (2004) revealed that 53% of the respondents considered time, budget and quality to be insufficient criteria for project assessment. The ‘satisfaction of the client’ made up the most common additional criterion. Also in the survey among Norwegian project managers (Karlsen et al., 2005) the highest ranked success criterion was whether a system ‘works as expected and solves the problem’, whereas the iron triangle criteria were ranked lower on the list. The conclusion these authors draw from their studies is that a project should be assessed in two categories: product success, which involves meeting the customer’s organizational expectations, and project management success, which involves satisfying time, budget and functionality criteria. Nelson (2005) adds up to this discussion concluding, that even if a product is delivered according to the functional specification, it may not yield business outcomes due to poor business planning or to the changing business environment or organizational strategy. To sum up, the project should be evaluated from two major perspectives (Atkinson, 1999; Baccarini, 1999; Nelson, 2005; Thomas & Fernandez, 2008):

  • Product success – i.e. Achieving the project’s organizational and business goals;

  • Project management success – i.e. Satisfying the budget, time and quality/functionality criteria.

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