Benefits Management Approach
The purpose of the Benefits Management Approach is to identify the benefits and most importantly, to select how the benefits can be measured so that it is possible to show that they have been reached. You can then compare the new results to the current situation as it is today or at the start of the project (baselined measurements).
The Benefits Management Approach must include information on the expected timeline for these benefits, i.e., when the benefits can be expected and measured, and who will gather the information.
Tip: If you can’t measure a benefit, don’t claim it as a benefit!
Timeline Benefits Management Approach
- The Benefits Management Approach is created and facilitated in the Initiation Stage by the Project Manager
- The Senior User will normally provide most to the benefits information
- The Project Manager will use a template provided by the programme or organisation and review this
- The Benefits Management Approach will be signed off and baselined by the Project Board
- The Project Manager can check for realised benefits at the end of each stage if this is necessary
- The Benefits Management Approach may also be updated for the following reasons. E.g., Expected benefits may change, changes to responsibility, change to timing of benefit reviews
- During the Closing a Project process the Project Manager can use the original Benefits Management Approach while creating the end Project Report. The Project Manager will also schedule the post-project benefits reviews
- After the project, the Corporate or Program Management will take over the responsibility of checking for realised benefits.
Sample Benefits Management Approach
- This example is taken from the PEN sample project and it is a good simple example
- Benefits: List the expected benefits that can be expected and these must be measurable
- Baseline measurements: This is the status at the start of the project and can be used to compare a before and after situation.
- Accountable for benefits: Who is responsible to see that these benefits are realized; e.g., Senior User
- What to review: List what will be reviewed
- Plan to review after project: This can be a plan to review benefits during and after the project.
Who is responsible?
- The Senior User Role is responsible for specifying the benefits. After the project is finished and the project team is disbanded, one of the persons responsible from the Senior User Role will report on the realized benefits to the Corporate or Programme Management. They have to clearly show that the expected benefits have been reached or provide other information to explain why not: management excuses :-)
- During the project, the Executive is responsible to ensure that benefits reviews are planned and executed if required, and they also check that reviews are planned after the project is closed.
- The Project Manager reports to the Project Board on any expected benefits that have been realized during the project, and updates the Benefits Management Approach and Business Case. During the Closing a Project process, they will plan the post-project benefits reviews that should take place in the following years after the project is done.
The Benefits Management Approach has to cover the activities to find out whether the expected benefits of the project deliverables have been realized and how the products have performed when in operational use. Each expected benefit has to be assessed for the level of its achievement. There may also be unexpected side-effects, either beneficial or adverse and Time and effort have to be allowed to identify and analyse why these side effects were not foreseen.
Source data for the Benefits Management Approach
- Facilitated workshops with Senior User
- Business Case
- Project Product Description (in particular the acceptance Criteria)
Format of the Benefits Management Approach
- A document (word, presentation slides, PDF)
- A Spreadsheet
Quality Criteria for Benefits Management Approach
- Covers all the benefits in the Business Case
- If it can’t be measured then it is not a benefit (so don’t include it as a benefit)
- The benefits are measurable and baseline measures (e.g., measurements are taken at the start of the project) have been recorded
- Describes suitable timing for measurement of the benefits, together with reasons for the timing
- Identifies the skills or individuals who will be needed to carry out the measurements
- You may include the effort and cost to undertake the benefits reviews is realistic when compared with the value of the anticipated benefits
- Consideration should also be given to whether dis-benefits should be measured and reviewed.
Tips from Frank
- Get a good Benefits Management Approach template to use from the programme or organisation
- Take your time with the Senior Support and remind them to be conservative and realistic with the projected benefits as many times the benefits are over-exaggerate
- Remind the Senior User of the purpose of the Benefits Management Approach, how it will be used and the fact that they are responsible to meet the proposed benefits
- Make changes to the Benefits Management Approach during the Stage Boundary process if necessary. It should not be seen as a failure to lower benefits expectations.