When you have a project, you need to find out from the customer how they will judge the success of the project. Don’t go off giving the team high 5’s and leave the customer scratching their head looking at the bill. At the inception of the project and at the identification of each deliverable, get agreement from the customer as to success criteria.
I just returned from a trip to New York. Let’s use that trip to illustrate my point. My wife and I will represent the customers. Both of us had a different measurement of success.
For my wife, the trip would be a success if we made it to the Gershwin on time to see Wicked. For me, the trip would be a success if I got to have dinner at John’s Pizzeria.
We identified contingency plans, so we could have different levels of success.  Drive almost an hour and a half to Union Station in Washington DC.
Milestone 1 – Success
 Take the train to Penn Station in New York.
Milestone 2 – Success
 Get to the W Hotel in Time Square
and check in.
Milestone 3 – Success
 Get to the Gershwin Theater
Milestone 4 – Success (Customer #1 is 100% satisfied)
The show was really good. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend it. It was odd seeing some people not dressed up. Call me old fashioned but if you’re going to the theater, it wouldn’t hurt you to dress up.
 The next milestone was get to John’s Pizzeria. I just wanted a pie
and a beer
Milestone 5 – Success (Customer #2 is 100% satisfied)
After dinner, we returned to the hotel and then spent the evening in Time Square. Last time we were in there, I proposed. Not a coincidence, our hotel room was right over the spot where I popped the question. Since I take everything so seriously, we then went to a toy store, where I was promptly attacked by a Transformer. Needless to say, that was not on my risk register.
Thank you to my wife for allowing me to check in via Foursquare and Gowalla. I didn’t do it a lot.
How was your weekend?