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Blog post 06 Mar 2017

The Emerging Importance of Benefits Realisation

The Emerging Importance of Benefits Realisation

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 Project 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 Realisation?

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 realisation management, which is the collective process of identifying benefits at the outset of a project and ensuring that the benefits are realized and sustained through purposeful actions during implementation.

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

How Benefits Realisation can help Organisations

Organizational performance should include an organization’s benefits realization maturity level. This measure of maturity would measure the percentage of completed projects 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 the 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 creating business value rather than keeping a narrow focus on project deliverables and traditional measures of success.