About CSFs: critical success factors in project management
In project management, “critical success factors” (CSFs) are the aspects of a project considered most essential to its success or failure. For example, the CSFs of a web design project might include user experience and data migration.
Project managers can identify CSFs by asking stakeholders, such as senior team members, about their project success criteria, and seeing if they can name any common reasons why projects have failed previously. This helps with producing a shortlist of factors affecting project success, which can be edited down to a handful of CSFs for use in project planning, monitoring and evaluation.
Identifying project success and failure factors flows naturally into project planning, as CSFs can become the focus of tasks included in the project. Critical success factors which are currently an area of weakness can be fixed with enhancements or protections, while those which are areas of strength or opportunity can be further improved or leveraged.
Performance against CSFs should be monitored throughout a project’s duration. We can do this by setting big picture KPIs relating to CSFs, and measuring them continually.
CSFs are make-or-break. Give them priority in your planning, monitoring and work.