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April 21, 2017

Project Benefits Tracking Template Excel Download

Project Benefits

Tracking project benefits is a core part of Project Benefits Management. This excel template allows a project manager to track various aspects of project benefits including type, alignment, and strategic importance. 
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Project Benefits Tracker, Project Benefits Management
Project Benefits Excel Tracker

About the Project Benefits Tracker

  • Benefit Description - Clearly mention what the benefit is about.  Examples of benefits descriptions are “ Resource Cost Savings”, “Productivity Gain”, “Reduced Hardware Requirement” etc. It is important to ensure that the description is unambiguous and easily understandable especially if it non-tangible benefit. Tangible benefits can be easily quantified so the focus tends to be on the dollar value saved.
  • Owner - The benefit owner is responsible to ensure the project team gets all the support and all the steps are taken to make sure the benefit remains on track. The owner should also be accountable for putting all the measures after the realization of the benefit.
  • Target - This is the date or time by which it is expected that the benefit will be realized and provide value to the business. It is important that the date is picked after careful thought as once the date is published all the stakeholders will have an expectation that the dates be met.
  • Benefit Type - This fields indicates if the type of benefit is tangible or intangible. Typically projects have both kinds of benefits and it is important to differentiate so the tangible can be quantified.
  • Benefit Category - Describes what area of the business the benefits will help. Examples here are Process improvements, Improve UI/UX. The categories will differ based on the organisation.
  • Alignment – This column describes how closely aligned the benefit is to companies or organisation needs. If this field indicates the benefits are not in line then they will be questioned by management.
  • Realization Phase – The phase of the project during which the benefits are planned to be realized.
  • Status – Indicates if the benefit is on track to be achieved. It is common for everyone to establish a number of benefits but forget as the project progresses.
  • Planned Benefit and Actual Benefit – Benefits values which were planned and were actually achieved. 

Best Practices for using the Project Benefits Tracker

  • The project business case or project proposal is in the documents which can be a source of benefits. Check How to Write Project Proposal Template Word?
  • Make it a habit to walk through the benefits tracker excel during and project meetings.
  • Ensure you keep the tracker in a place where it is accessible to the required people.  
  • Always include information about project benefits in project status reports or project updates.
  • On a regular basis review, the benefits register with key stakeholders.
  • Review the costs and dollar values for the benefits of a change in the costs could affect the benefit amount.
  • Clearly highlight the variances between planned and achieved benefits in various reports.
  • Periodically do a reconciliation between business case/project proposal document to ensure both are aligned.
  • Whenever adding anew benefit ensure all the stakeholders are informed.

What is project benefits realization?

Project benefits realization is the set of processes in place that are used to identify, execute and measure project benefits. By having a project benefits realization in place it ensures the project is defined and can be efficiently implemented, which leads to the delivery of outcomes.

Having benefits realization established is crucial for all projects, whether these are basic through to more complex. Benefits realization management encompasses the complete life cycle of a project and is separated into 4 distinct phases -
  • The first of these is where the project is identified and structured and the phrase is known as initiation and approval. 
  • Then we move to the second phase where benefits are planned, this is referred to as the governance and planning phase. T
  • The third phase is where project benefits are monitored and optimized and is called the execution and control phase. 
  • Finally, the fourth phase is defined as realization and benefits evaluation, otherwise known as the project closure and project review phase.
By assessing the project benefits in these 4 different phases of the project it enables you to bring themes, processes and key principles together to assist with business prioritization and deliver outcomes from business changes.

The importance of having the 4 phases to evaluate project outcomes is it helps stakeholders to manage benefits, as well as assisting with benefits capability development.

Project Benefits Management
Project Benefits Management

How is a benefits realization plan template developed?

A benefits realization plan template identifies how the benefits processes will be implemented in a project. It provides a detailed description of the tasks as well as the time frame, resources, and approach for the total project.

The plan template is normally separated into different sections. These sections are as follows:

1. Executive summary: program overview, as well as how key benefits are tracked.
2. Business management phases: outlines how each phase in the project links in together.
3. Business case benefits reconciliation: economic and business case benefits appraisal.
4. Benefits ownership: roles and benefits accountability and resolutions.
5. Benefits activity plan: tasks for each phase of the benefits realization plan.
6. Baseline measures: determines how measures are collected and time frames.
7. Benefits and organisational change: process changes as well as the initiatives required to ensure outputs.
8. Go live: A listing of all the integral processes.
9. Posts go live benefits tracking: description of benefits data collection through to the reporting processes.
10. Benefit profiles: outline of each benefit.

Benefits realization report

The benefits realization report identifies how successful a project has been in achieving the benefits for which it was initially developed. As each benefit has multiple measurements established to determine whether or not the outcome has been achieved, the report tracks these before highlighting the findings to stakeholders.

As different measurements are relevant to stakeholders in different departments, the relevant findings are given to each separately. The report also assesses why targets have been missed and investigate these in detail.

It's crucial that each of the phases before the reporting is researched and outlined in detail as inadequacies in these earlier stages will become apparent in the reporting after project completion.
Some of the areas where a project can fall short, which are identified in the reporting, are failing to track sufficient benefits, targets that are unrealistic, measures that aren't appropriate to identify how successfully a benefit has been reached and targets that result in inappropriate behavior.

To more efficiently track and attribute measurements for reporting, building a benefits map is a smart decision. Benefits should be linked together with ways in which these are measured and the final outcome or outcomes that have been achieved. By creating a benefits map it's much simpler to follow measurements.

Each of the steps outlined above is essential for project benefits management. Although the benefits realization plan template will be tailored to suit different business' project demands, it's an integral part in following each stage of the project for tracking and reporting.

The key to effective project benefits management is initially identifying what project benefits or outcomes you desire in detail. If this isn't done at the beginning of a project, then it's more likely to fail.

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