Project managers typically set three success criteria for their projects: meet specifications, be on time, and be on budget. However, software projects frequently fail to meet these criteria. Software engineers, acquisition officers, and project managers have all studied this issue and made recommendations for achieving success. But most of this research in peer reviewed journals has focused on the private sector. Private sector project success depends on many elements. Critical success factors are those factors a project manager must properly handle to avoid failure. And priorities influence which success criteria the project manager will most likely succeed in meeting. Through a survey of software project managers at two USAF software development organizations, our research discovered the following: Air Force and private sector projects share many of the same critical success factors for nonweapon systems, but there are still some sharp differences.