The Emerging Importance of Benefits Realization

The Emerging Importance of Benefits Realization

Projects and programs are the core of any organization’s strategic initiatives - they make change happen - they get things done. Projects are undertaken for a particular purpose - to deliver a specific benefit for the entity.

Completing projects and programs successfully - on time, on budget, meeting goals - is essential for an organization’s success. But what constitutes success?

The traditional measures of scope, time, and cost are no longer sufficient in today’s competitive environment. The ability of projects to deliver what they set out to do - the expected benefits - is just as important.

What is Benefits Realization?

It is no longer acceptable to launch a project, run through the project lifecycle and then move on to the next new and exciting project. Key stakeholders now want to know “Did the project deliver the benefits stated in the business case?”

There is growing attention to benefits realization management, which is the collective process of identifying benefits at the outset of a project and ensuring, through purposeful actions during implementation, that the benefits are realized and sustained once the project ends.

This more inclusive measure of project success provides insight into what elite organizations are focusing on and how others can continue this path to progress.

How Benefits Realization can help Organizations

Organizational performance should include an organization’s benefits realization maturity level. This measure of maturity would measure the percentage of projects that are completed on time, on budget, and meeting original goals and business intent.

Recent research (PMI, Pulse of the Profession) provides direct evidence that effective strategy implementation is directly linked to an organization’s capability to deliver successful projects and programs.

Benefits realization management (BRM) is a powerful way to align projects, programs, and portfolios to an organization’s overarching strategy.

But the discipline has intimidated many, because there is no single, widely accepted BRM process to follow. Despite that, more organizations are taking steps to establish procedures for identifying benefits and monitoring progress toward achieving them throughout the project life cycle and beyond.  

The growing focus on topics such as talent management, executive sponsorship, and benefits realization management in particular, shows that organizations are more and more recognizing the connection between project implementation and business success.

What is the role of Project Manager in BRM?

Benefits realization is a core component of project management. Project managers are uniquely positioned to help their customers derive the benefits described in the business case. Emphasis should be put on engaging them early in the discussions around benefits analysis, alignment of projects with business strategy.

By doing so, they are more likely to focus on creation of business value rather than keeping a narrow focus on project deliverables and traditional measures of success.


If you enjoyed this piece see our Blogs section where we have written over 200 articles on project management.

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