Measuring the Chance of Project Success Using the 4 P’s

May 29, 2016

Whether you are implementing a new ERP system, deploying Lean principles in your factory, or simply trying to improve your supply chain efficiency, all projects have a chance of failure. You can either recognize that chance and attempt to proactively mitigate it, or you can go blindly forward and risk stumbling. I prefer to measure my chances, so over the years I have developed a scorecard of critical attributes that I use to objectively measure the chance of  project success. At the end of this article I will tell you how you can get a free copy of the scorecard for your own use, but let me explain how it works first.

The attributes I use to measure the chances for project success or failure come in four categories. I call the them the 4 P’s. There are lots of 4P schema out there, some associated with Lean and some associated with marketing. For project management purposes I use: Purpose, Process, People, and Problem Solving.

Purpose – This category measures how well you have defined and communicated the end results your project is designed to achieve and the business benefits that will come from successful completion of the project.  The scorecard has you rate on a scale of 0 to 9 how well you have completed specific tasks that have been proven effective in producing successful projects. For example:  The purpose of the project is clear and formally documented. The stakeholders know what we are trying to accomplish, and they agree that the business will be better off when the project is complete.

Need help making your project a success? Contact the experts at the ACA Group. Contact Us or Call Us at 626-836-9261

Process – In this category you measure the tools and techniques being used to manage the project. The scorecard has you rate process related statements such as: We have a detailed project plan, There is formal scope management and risk management processes in place. The essence of this section of the scorecard is evaluating if you have the processes in place to ensure you will achieve the purpose.

People – The people part of the scorecard looks at the project team. It measures whether the right people are engaged in reaching the project’s purpose by following the project management processes. This section of the scorecard asks you to rate statements such as: Team members are people who are respected by the business, Team members feel empowered to make process changes as they attempt to fulfill the project’s purpose. Completing the People part of the scorecard gives you a rating of how well the team is contributing to your chances of success.

Problem Solving – Problem solving in projects usually comes down to decision making. This section of the scorecard measures the decision making process. It rates such things as: Are there formal measures to gauge the correctness of the decision? Is the project leadership open to outside opinion or do they have the dreaded Not-Invented-Here syndrome? Rating the project team’s ability to make good decisions gives you a clear indication of your chances of achieving the project’s business benefits.

There are six pairs of statements in each section and you rate where you fall on the Failure-Success path by rating each line between 0 and 9. If your project looks like the left hand statement, the failure statement, then you rate a 0. If your project looks like the right hand Success statement, then you rate yourself a 9. Most times it’s not that black and white, so you rate yourself with the appropriate number somewhere between 0 and 9.

Below is a picture of a portion of the Purpose section of the scorecard:

Purpose Sample


When you have completed rating the sections on Purpose, Process, People and Problem Solving you get the summary evaluation of your chances of success. The summary below is from a real project that I have been asked to advise on.


Doing this quick and easy evaluation gave me a clear picture of where I need to focus first. This project needs to clarify and communicate its purpose. Now that I can see what area needs the my attention, I can define what to do first which I documented right in the scorecard.



In the Actions box of each line you define the actions you are going to take. If you score a line in the 0 – 4 range then your action should focus on immediate remediation. If the score is in the 5 – 7 range then your actions should focus on improving that area. If you are fortunate enough to rate an 8 or 9, then your action should define how you are going to maintain that level of performance.

The real value of measuring your chance of project success using the 4 P’s is that it brings focus to the basic attributes required for all successful projects, identifies what needs the most attention first, and requires you think through what actions you are going to take in ensure the project’s success.

If this scorecard sounds like a tool you might be interested in using and would like a copy of, go to and click on the Contact Us section, then click on my name. While you’re there take a look at how our team of operations and supply chain management experts can help you improve your business performance.

For more information on how to manage successful projects, contact Doug Howardell or call 626.836.9261

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