In Success Criteria #2, I linked culture to organisational performance in delivering projects mentioning that "an organisation always gets the project they deserve". But also when the project team exhibits great leadership they can overcome this. We will therefore talk about leadership and team composition, but before doing so there is another more important criteria.
That is asking the question of why change anything in the first place? Knowing why, helps define what the change is trying to achieve? It could be a simple technology change like a desktop rollout or it could be something much more transofrmational. Even with a desktop rollout there can a lot of reasons why this is being done and this changes the approach and the outcomes. Is it a defined upgrade due to end of life or is there other reasons, such as a new enterprise capability that requires new desktops? Is data and applications being migrated or accomodated in the new environment or discarded? Will this have impact upon operations? Is there variations to specifications allowed for specific needs by some users/managers? Who pays for these?
I have only scraped the surface with questions. The answers will define what outcomes the team is supposed to deliver. Is it a low cost, tightly constrained project or is it allowed to consider value judgements that may cost more but bring some benefits.
Why are these questions important? All projects make trade-offs, some make them more explicitly than others. If a project is not making trade-offs between time, cost, quality and benefits then it has a very loose direction, it is not finely tuned nor highly defined. It is like saying just run over there and see how you go, versus you are about to run in the 100 metres on that track on this time and day. To do things well, what you are doing needs to be clear, as do your objectives. You cant do something well, when what you are supposed to be doing is vague. Yet some projects are very unclear. In fact, it would seem purposefully so. Not having clear objectives means you can't fail...well perhaps that is the view by some.
Not having clear objectives also means you can never succeed. and this forms Success Criteria #3, have a clear mission.