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Success Criteria

Success criteria are measurable and clearly defined requirements that a project, product, or service must meet in order to be considered successful. Establishing success criteria helps companies achieve their goals and ensure continuous improvement. This glossary entry explains the significance of success criteria, their various dimensions, and how they can be used in different industries.

Success Criteria: Definition and Significance

Success criteria are the specific, measurable, and realistic requirements that a project, product, or service must meet to be considered successful. They ensure that all parties have a common understanding of the goals and outcomes and serve as a guide for planning and evaluating project performance. Success criteria are an essential part of project management and enable companies to clearly define their goals and monitor progress towards these goals.

Dimensions of Success Criteria

Success criteria can be divided into various dimensions, depending on which aspects of performance they target. The main dimensions are:

  • Time: Success criteria in this dimension relate to adherence to deadlines and schedules, including milestones and project completion dates.
  • Cost: This concerns budget compliance and efficient use of resources, including cost control and optimization.
  • Quality: Success criteria regarding quality refer to compliance with standards, customer satisfaction, and the performance of the product or service.
  • Scope: This dimension pertains to achieving the defined goals and meeting the requirements of the project, product, or service.
  • Risk Management: Success criteria in this dimension involve identifying, assessing, and controlling risks that could impact the project.

Development of Success Criteria

When developing success criteria for a project, product, or service, the following steps should be considered:

  1. Defining Goals: The goals of the project, product, or service should be clearly and precisely defined. This helps to align the success criteria accordingly.
  3. Selecting Measurable Indicators: Choose measurable indicators that show the success of the project, product, or service in the various dimensions.
  5. Setting Success Criteria: Establish clear, realistic, and achievable success criteria based on the defined goals and selected indicators.
  7. Communication and Engagement: Ensure that all parties are informed about and accept the success criteria. This promotes collaboration and a common understanding of the goals.
  9. Monitoring and Evaluation: Regularly monitor progress in relation to the success criteria and adjust them as needed. This enables continuous improvement and helps to detect and resolve issues early on.

Application of Success Criteria in Various Industries

Success criteria are applicable in many industries and areas to assess and optimize the performance of projects, products, and services. Some examples of the application of success criteria include:

  • Software Development: In software development, success criteria can be used to assess adherence to schedules, code quality, and end-user satisfaction.
  • Marketing: Success criteria in marketing may relate to lead generation, increasing brand awareness, or improving customer retention.
  • Production: In production, success criteria can help evaluate the efficiency of operations, the quality of manufactured products, and compliance with environmental and safety standards.
  • Financial Services: Success criteria in the finance industry may relate to the profitability of investments, compliance with regulatory requirements, or customer satisfaction.


Success criteria are an important part of planning, executing, and evaluating projects, products, and services. By establishing clear, measurable, and realistic success criteria, companies can achieve their goals, optimize performance, and ensure continuous improvement. Considering the various dimensions of success criteria and tailoring them to the specific requirements of different industries enables companies to effectively use their success criteria and secure sustainable success.