Benefits management has always been a challenging aspect of project management for organisations to master. In simple terms, it’s a “structured way of identifying, planning, and tracking the expected benefits and outcomes of a project, programme, or any initiative that brings value to the organisation.”
The main idea is that no project should be started if we don’t know what benefits we’ll get from it. In other words, if there’s no clear benefit, then what’s the use of doing the project at all?
Since more and more organisations are using projects and programmes to make their businesses better, they might have many projects happening at the same time. So, it’s crucial for them to know that they’ll get what they want and need from these projects. Benefits management helps them make sure they achieve their goals and get the most out of their efforts.
It might sound easy on paper but in reality, there are many factors which make benefits management difficult to get right.
Here are just a few of them:
- It can be difficult to identify the full range of benefits from a project or initiative as they may be tangible or intangible, short-term or long-term, and may affect different stakeholders in various ways.
- Evaluating and quantifying benefits often involves subjective judgments and estimations, leading to ambiguity and differing opinions on their value.
- Benefits can depend on various internal and external factors, such as market conditions, regulatory changes, technological advancements, or organisational readiness.
- Benefits may not materialise immediately and can take time to manifest, making it challenging to link them directly to specific actions or projects.
With the difficulty in getting benefits management to work effectively well known, where can the PMO help, and how does the PMO get started in providing benefits management-related services and support?
PMO: Getting Started with Benefits Management
You’re working in a PMO today and your organisation wants to introduce benefits management for the first time, where should the PMO start?
You have to understand benefits management before you can hope to put good benefits management practices in place. Luckily PMO Learning have been providing the Benefits Management and the PMO course for a few years now. This 2-day course has helped PMO practitioners to understand not only what benefits management is and what good practices look like but also provide guidance on getting started.
Introducing benefits management for the first time in a PMO requires careful planning and a systematic approach. Here are the key steps the PMO should consider to get started:
- Understand Organisational Goals: Begin by understanding the organisation’s overall goals and objectives. Identify the key priorities and strategic initiatives that align with these goals. This will help in aligning benefits management with the organisation’s broader vision.
- Build Awareness and Buy-In: Educate the stakeholders, including senior management, project teams, and relevant staff, about the concept and importance of benefits management. Highlight how it can improve project success and contribute to the organisation’s success.
- Appoint a Benefits Manager: Designate a dedicated benefits manager or benefits realisation team responsible for overseeing the implementation of benefits management. This person/team will be responsible for identifying, tracking, and measuring the benefits of projects.
- Develop Benefits Management Framework: Create a benefits management framework tailored to the organisation’s needs and projects. The framework should outline the processes, roles, responsibilities, and tools for identifying, planning, tracking, and evaluating benefits.
- Identify and Prioritise Benefits: Work with project teams and stakeholders to identify and prioritize the benefits associated with each project or initiative. Clearly define what success looks like for each benefit and link them to the organisation’s strategic goals.
- Align with Project Lifecycle: Integrate benefits management activities into the project lifecycle. This ensures that benefits are considered throughout the project, from planning to delivery and beyond.
- Establish Measurement Metrics: Define clear and measurable metrics for each benefit to track progress and success. These metrics should be realistic, achievable, and relevant to the organisation’s objectives.
- Develop Benefits Realisation Plans: Create specific plans for realising each benefit, outlining the necessary actions, resources, and timelines to achieve them.
- Implement Monitoring and Reporting: Set up a system for monitoring and reporting on benefits realisation regularly. This allows the organisation to assess progress, identify issues, and make timely adjustments.
- Provide Training and Support: Offer training and support to project teams and stakeholders on benefits management processes and tools. Ensure that everyone involved understands their roles and responsibilities.
- Continuous Improvement: Encourage a culture of continuous improvement. Regularly review and assess the benefits management process, identify lessons learned, and implement changes to enhance effectiveness.
- Celebrate Successes: Celebrate and communicate the successful realisation of benefits to build enthusiasm and support for benefits management across the organisation.
Before the PMO can begin to shape and offer services around benefits management, steps 1 and 2 must not be overlooked or rushed. There are many stories from PMOs who have rushed into creating benefits management frameworks or tried to create plans at the project level just to see the whole benefits management process fail.
Successful benefits management requires a culture that values and prioritises the achievement of benefits in every project across the organisation. That is where the PMO has to focus its attention when kicking off benefits management in their organisations.
To get started in your organisation, or to gain the knowledge that PMOs need in benefits management today, enrol on the next Benefits Management and the PMO course.