Critical success factors – these are often used terms, but not always fully met. Many managers believe that it is necessary to create dozens of indicators, and call them critical success factors.

     However, too many indicators can be harmful to the company, and not all indicators represent critical success factors. There are companies in which there are people and even sectors created to raise indicators, monitor indicators, and this in no way contributes to success.

Critical Success Factors have all to do with Strategic Planning

     Some time ago, we published an article on Strategic Planning. Without wishing to repeat it, I think there is an excerpt from this article that illustrates the difference between Traditional Planning and Strategic Planning.

    Traditional Planning has to do with the lyrics of a song by Cazuza: “Eu vejo o futuro repetir o passado, eu vejo um museu de grandes novidades, o tempo não para, não para, não, não para…” (“I see the future repeating the past, I see a museum of great news, time doesn’t stop, no, it doesn’t stop”) of where the singer reflects on the inevitability of the passage of time and the way it happens, emphasizing that history repeats itself. What is new now, soon to be old, will be part of historical accounts, will belong to the past.

     Now, Strategic Planning has to do with the lyrics of a song by Geraldo Vandré, in the song “Pra não dizer que não falei de flores…” (“So that no one says I never sung of flowers”): “Vem, vamos embora, que esperar não é saber, quem sabe faz a hora, não espera acontecer…” (“Come on, let’s go away, because waiting is to be not wise, who knows make its own time, never waits for it to happen”) is a call to action and unity. The singer states that “waiting is not the same as knowing”, and stresses that anyone who is aware of the reality of the country cannot wait for things to change. Change and revolution will not be handed over to anyone, people will need to act quickly.


Critical Success Factors What Are They?

     There is no point in talking about Critical Success Factors without associating them with Strategic Planning. To determine which the Critical Success Factors are, it is necessary to keep in mind your company’s Mission and Vision, i.e. its goals.

     It’s no use trying to improve on everything, achieving excellence in all aspects. It will only be a waste of effort, time and money. The areas in which excellence should be sought are those linked to the company’s mission and objectives.

     In this sense, I see a correlation between the business and personal cases, illustrated in a Blogtek article: Focus on your strengths.

Critical Success Factors – How to Define Them?

     There are some publications that suggest some critical success factors, by area of activity of the company. Although they are generic examples, I don’t want to risk suggesting.

     However, there are criteria that can, and should, be used to define which are the Critical Success Factors for your business or organization:

  • – Will this Factor, if neglected, bring losses to the business? Will it make me lose clients, projection, and capillarity? If so, this factor is a candidate to be one of the Critical Success Factors.
  • – Will this factor, if successful, give me a competitive edge over my competitors? If so, this is also a candidate for one of the Critical Success Factors.
  • – Is there anything in the Mission, Vision, and Objectives of my company that is not covered by some of the Critical Success Factors? If so, look for an indicator that may represent what is missing.


Critical Success Factors – Monitoring

     When defining the Critical Success Factors, it is necessary to monitor them. For this, it is important that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

     Propose challenging but viable growth goals. Setting unattainable growth goals will only lead to discredit and discouragement.

    Each week, we post new articles on Blogtek, about Project Management, Maintenance Management, and topics on Leadership and Management. Also weekly we publish videos, which can be accessed at



  • Critical Success Factors
  • FCS
  • KPI
  • Planning
  • Strategic Planning



Rodolfo Stonner, Mechanical Engineer (UFRJ), served as Senior Equipment Engineer at Petrobras, and was a Construction and Assembly Manager of the Extramural Works at Abreu e Lima Refinery (RNEST), in Pernambuco. Currently retired, he is a consultant and instructor in the areas of Project Management and Maintenance Management, and is working with Deloitte in the implementation of the PMO for the Talara Refinery, Peru. He likes to teach, exchange experiences and knowledge, is certified as a PMP (Project Management Professional) and RMP (Risk Management Professional) by the PMI, and CRE (Certified Reliability Engineer) by the ASQ.



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