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Thursday, 01 June 2017 21:27

Was Your Project Successful? Ask Your Sponsor.

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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2017.01.06

Was Your Project Successful? Ask Your Sponsor.

When a project ends, many project teams struggle with whether they were really successful. Having a project scorecard can help.

Simple Sponsor Survey – Yes or No

Perhaps the simplest way to know if you were successful is to simply ask the sponsor whether the project was a success or not. This is the most direct and the sponsor is usually the person who ultimately must judge success. The sponsor would take into account the budget, deadline, quality, etc., and also make a mental determination of which criteria was most important.

And there you have it - a straight "yes" or "no" from the sponsor to the question of whether or not the project was a success. What can be simpler?

Allow a Range of Survey Answers

The problem with the simple "yes" or "no" answer is that it is black or white (all or nothing) and does not leave any room for shades of gray. Usually the sponsor will be happy about how some things turned out and disappointed in other things.

A method that allows more options is to allow the answer to be expressed in a range. For example, you can ask the sponsor "How satisfied were you with the overall success of the project?" and allow them to express their answer on a one through five scale (or one through ten). Now the sponsor has some discretion. If they are totally satisfied, they can score the project a five out of five. If they were happy about most things, but unhappy about some, they can rate the team a four out of five. This allows the sponsor to provide a little more of a gray area, while still keeping things very simple.

More Comprehensive Survey

You will probably discover that asking one question is just not enough, especially if you want to validate that certain specific behaviors are taking place. To gather more feedback, your survey just needs to have more than one question. For instance, you may have multiple questions that ask, on a scale from one to five, how satisfied the individual was with:

  • How the team communicated
  • Whether the deliverables produced were of high quality
  • Whether the team responded in a timely manner
  • Whether the team was knowledgeable in the business area
  • Etc.
This survey can also be completed by a wider range of people. You could ask the sponsor and a number of other impacted stakeholders to provide feedback.


Is your project a success or not? If your success is based strictly on your sponsor’s feedback, you can end up in an all-or-nothing situation. The more aspects of the project you take into account, the more comprehensive you are in terms of how the separate criteria get put together for the overall success level. 
TenStep-logo-pngAt TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at
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