Critical Success Factor (CSF) are defined based on individual organization’s goal, objective and mission, a good CSF are the ones which can be measured, and when I mean measured I don’t mean by a score, there needs to be a baseline defined for each CSF to be measured against.
One of the CSF for a project I worked for in past was 'ease of use', immediately when I looked at the CSF I told them, that’s an interesting CSF and I posed them a question, how are you planning to measure that?, and guess what I did not get any tangible answer, the reason was that everyone agreed that we want to deliver a software which is easy to use but did not know how to measure it? that does not mean it is not a good CSF. The moral of this story is that if you cannot measure something how you will decide if it was successful or not, sometime we do not have to categorize a CSF as success or failure it could be how effective it was and that’s good enough (at least for me).
One another CSF I came across was 'increase in sales by 20%', which was later changed to 'increase sales by 20% from last year', now this can be measured, do you agree?
Identifying CSF (oops measurable CSF) at the begining of the project is very critical for project's success and for stakeholders confidence in the project.
Some of the typical CSF is as follows
- Solution will be delivered by so and so date.
- Solution needs be able to install via an installer.
- Software needs to be up and running with no (or absolute minimum) configuration.
- Sales order should be placed within X minutes.
- Quotation needs to be generated within X minutes.
- Implementing this solution needs to save X dollars in operational cost.
Sometime there could be different CSF for different team, but an experienced BA will ensure that every teams individual CSF can be used to measure organizational CSF.
It is very important to constantly keep an eye on CSF, the progress needs to be recorded correctly and more important timely, very recently I saw people in my organization using burn down graphs and backlogs, the tool was very simple to maintain and enabled the whole team to act in time and monitor progress, that’s what I like to see.
Bye for now…