Benefits: everyone wants some, right? As with other processes – and project management in general – failing to plan is planning to fail and benefits realization management is no different. Yes, to succeed you need to start by getting yourself a plan! In the context of benefits realization management, that magic and powerful tool is called the Benefits Realisation Management Plan (not to be confused with the Benefits Realisation Plan, which covers just one stage of the benefits realization!), and it serves as a structured way of planning, monitoring, tracking and managing the collective set of benefits associated with a project or program.
- Benefits realization scope: following from the business case of the project, this area provides the context for the benefits as well as an overview of their contribution to the organization’s strategic objectives.
- Benefits realization accountability: clarifies who is going to be the go-to person for each of the benefits, their contact details, as well as if their responsibility stops when the project ends or if there will be an owner pre-project go-live and post-go-live.
- Benefits realization timescales and measurement: present not just the start date for measurement but also when should that measurement stop. In the same vein, regular measurement points should be established to allow for the identification of trends and to enable a quick correction if required.
- Benefits realization resources: it is not enough to want to do benefits realization management, you also need sufficient and capable resources to do it properly – people, time, tools, money. The benefits realization plan should identify that dependency to allow for the hiring of resources and/or the securing of funding in a timely way.
- Benefits realization monitoring and control: highlights how assurance is going to be performed on the benefits realization management process. This entails not just the responsibility for benefit reviews but also where and how data is going to be tracked and the reporting and escalation routes.
- Benefits realization enablers: outlines what are the pre-requisites required to facilitate the realization of the benefits – this refers to your critical success factors as well as to any other change initiatives in the organization which are critical dependencies for the attainment of such benefits.
- Benefits realization KPIs and critical success factors: in order to know if the project has successfully realized its benefits, it’s crucial that we define from the beginning what good looks like, that is, the key performance indicators (KPIs) which are going to be used. If I achieve just 7 out of 10 benefits, is this acceptable or is it a problem to solve?