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An increasing number of third level education institutions have begun implementing quality management (QM) systems over the past ten years. Three types in particular have begun to stand out as the most implemented by universities and colleges, as well as polytechnics for applied sciences. On the basis of the by now relatively extensively documented practical experience, ten success factors for the development and later continuous operation of QM systems at third level education institutes can be identified. The following analysis offers a systematic overview of the current standard of knowledge and offers practitioners pointers for their own work. The article draws the quintessence of results from the 44 projects, which have been supervised to date in rounds of the CHE annual programme for the implementation of QM systems in third level education institutes. It furthermore adds findings from empirical studies and other implementation projects in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in which the author was involved over the years.