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Mission accomplished?: Measures of Success and Critical Success Factors in Startup Project Management
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This research studies project success in the context of decision-makers in young, entrepreneurial companies, namely startups. More precisely the companies are European companies that are independent, active and under 10 years of age, and furthermore identified as startups through a framework created from literature derived from Organizational Life Cycle theory and other pluralistic literature about startups. The main concentration is in the concepts related to project success: Project Success Criteria and Critical Success Factors, based on two research questions:

1. “What success criteria are perceived to be most relevant in the project management of startup firms?”

2. “What critical success factors are perceived to be most relevant in project management of startup firms and why?”

Previous studies on project management have been mostly conducted in the context of large organizations and typically in a quantitative form. Studies in project management of startups have been scarce, and in project success, nonexistent. Researchers have called upon project literature that concentrates on particular organizational context. In this study, existing theories are studied to find the most suitable framework for success criteria.

This study is conducted as a case study, wherein interviews were conducted with startup founders, partners and CEOs, located in Finland, Sweden and Germany. The data collection in the interviews consisted of both semi-structured questions and rating of importance regarding the elements of aforementioned theoretical frameworks of Project Success Criteria and Critical Success Factors, creating a rich set of data, forming holistic cases of the view of project success.

The resulting indicate that the most relevant success criteria for startup decision-makers are connected to customer relations, which dictates also the importance of short-term and long-term goals. The economic goals as well the preparation for future were more polarizing. The concentration on customer criteria is not divergent from previous research, but the importance of team criteria is a noticeable difference and a common theme across cases. It is also noticeable in the statements of interviewees that in the startup context the uncertainty regarding products, customers, and economical factors create certain tensions in project success assessment. In Critical Success Factors, there were also clear themes that mirror the aforementioned results. It furthermore became apparent that startups do not have clearly established tools or methods for their project management, which may distinguish them from larger, more established organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 112 p.
Keyword [en]
Critical Success Factors, Startups, Project Management, Success Criteria
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-105507OAI: diva2:826063
Educational program
Master's program in Business Development and Internationalisation; Master's Programme in Management
Available from: 2015-06-25 Created: 2015-06-24 Last updated: 2015-09-04Bibliographically approved

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