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Forecasting Success on Large Projects: Developing Reliable Scales to Predict Multiple Perspectives by Multiple Stakeholders Over Multiple Time Frames



Our aim is to develop a set of leading performance indicators to enable managers of large projects to forecast during project execution how various stakeholders will perceive success months or even years into the operation of the output. Large projects have many stakeholders who have different objectives for the project, its output, and the business objectives they will deliver. The output of a large project may have a lifetime that lasts for years, or even decades, and ultimate impacts that go beyond its immediate operation. How different stakeholders perceive success can change with time, and so the project manager needs leading performance indicators that go beyond the traditional triple constraint to forecast how key stakeholders will perceive success months or even years later. In this article, we develop a model for project success that identifies how project stakeholders might perceive success in the months and years following a project. We identify success or failure factors that will facilitate or mitigate against achievement of those success criteria, and a set of potential leading performance indicators that forecast how stakeholders will perceive success during the life of the project's output. We conducted a scale development study with 152 managers of large projects and identified two project success factor scales and seven stakeholder satisfaction scales that can be used by project managers to predict stakeholder satisfaction on projects and so may be used by the managers of large projects for the basis of project control.