Benefits Management (and Benefits Realisation) is increasingly under the spotlight for many organisations as they strive to demonstrate a return on investment from their projects and programmes.
There are five reasons to manage Benefits…
- Provide focus on what your project is trying to achieve
- Inspire people and give them a clear end-point
- Improve communication with all Stakeholders when discussing Scope
- Give confidence to those in Governance roles and those who may review the project from outside the organisation
- Help define realistic measurements so you can demonstrate Value for Money
While all projects should have clearly specified Objectives, it is how stakeholders and users will benefit that provides a focus for, and description of, a project’s end-point. Discussing and agreeing desired benefits with stakeholders and users is essential during the scoping stage of any project. Once you understand the desired and potential benefits, you can then identify how best to measure their achievement. Without measurement, projected benefits are no more than a wish-list and you will be unlikely to stand up to any rigorous scrutiny of your project.
Objective-setting is at the heart of Project Management and should drive everything else:
A useful framework to help identify Objectives and Benefits for any project is the Balanced Scorecard. Any project might set objectives in one or more of the “classic” Scorecard perspectives. It then becomes fairly easy to identify potential benefits and associated measurements.
Ideally, there should be only a few objectives; you need to be really focussed on what the project is trying to achieve. There may, however, be multiple potential benefits associated with each objective as in the diagram above. There might also be potential benefits that are not directly related to the objectives, for example process transaction times might be reduced in a project where the prime objective is to reduce costs.