Yes, and It was a success because it was a surprise!
(sorry, I had to!)
But seriously, surprise parties can be tricky. What I have found is that it is best to have a few organized people lay out the plan all at once, that way no one is confused about the time/place or anything like that. It is also beneficial to try to keep the numbers down, because the more people who know about the party, the more chance it won't be a surprise.
Probably the biggest success factor is communication. There needs to be one plan, and everyone needs to know the part they play, whether it is just to keep their mouth shut and show up at a certain time, or coordinate the party.