We are doing a deep dive on how people are measuring project success. Before reading on, it would be great if you could take our short survey! Thank you.

Predicting Project Success

As we got out and talked to people we came across one company that collects net promoter scores (NPS) for each project. That was a first. We know a lot of companies that collect NPS data, but not at the project

The project NPS is being collected by the professional services division of a major software vendor. The company goes so far as to base quarterly bonuses in this business unit on project NPS.

The actual question asked is

Given your experience on this project, would you recommend our services to a colleague or peer?

The same survey asked,

If there was one thing we could do to make your experience better, what would it be?

Net Promoter Score™ is a customer loyalty metric developed by (and a registered trademark of) Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix. Reichheld introduced it in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article “One Number You Need to Grow”. From Wikipedia.

Interesting. It certainly helps to focus team attention beyond the short-term metrics that ask was the project on time and on-budget. For many professional services organizations the question of whether a customer will order more work and act as a reference is more important than one off budget achievement. This company focuses on project NPS as it believes that this will drive more business in the future.


There is a tension here. Project teams are still expected to deliver on time, on budget. One expects that projects that are over budget and late will not generally lead to high NPS scores. But the opposite is not true. A laser focus on getting projects out on time and on budget is not enough to lead to repeat work and customer recommendations.

What does your company do to ensure that projects lead to repeat work and happy customers?

Do you measure project NPS? If not, how do you measure project outcomes?

If you are interested in contributing to this work please contact us.

Net Promoter Score is a trademark of Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix.
Top image from CheckMarket’s article on the Net Promoter Score.