This video explains how to populate the business benefits realization plan. Each major section of the realization plan is explained in detail.
- Have you ever walked past someone's desk and it's stacked high with folders, papers and other things and wondered how on earth they could find anything? They may know how to find something but no one else could. Having a business benefits plan has all your benefits laid out in an easily referenced place. Creating a document that can be referenced to, even beyond the project, ensures that your project really does achieve what it's set out to achieve. To create a business benefit realization plan, a lot of your input will come from your Benefits Realization Map, your business case and your program planning activities.
I usually start with a template from my project management toolkit, like the one we've supplied to you for this video. The principals and structure of the template should suit organizations large and small. Do your ground work and simply adjust the template to the structure of your organization using the standards and language of the organization. When thinking about the structure of my benefits realization plan, I like to chunk it down into manageable pieces. I go through four phases in this process.
First, I make sure I understand the program of work and the associated benefits. I work with my senior stakeholder and others who have a stake in the realization of the benefits to define the vision for the project, the objectives and the potential benefits. Doing this first up means that everyone is on the same page, using the same language and having the same expectations. Secondly, I like to prioritize the benefits and clearly layout a plan for achieving the objectives.
To do this ask yourself three key questions: Has the baseline or as is point been agreed with your key stakeholders so you know your starting point? Has the benefit owner or owners been consulted? Have benefit profiles and specifics and measurable targets been developed and agreed? I've seen a project at a larger computer manufacturer where a senior stakeholder thought the number one benefit of the program was to save $2 million dollars in logistics.
This financial benefit would be achieved by improving the efficiencies of a supply chain process. In fact, when we analyzed the process improvements and the benefits, the organization moved from their key metric of percentage saved from 5% to nearly 70%. That represented a saving of over $2 million dollars each quarter. As the project manager, you need to guide your stakeholders in how to measure, analyze and understand the project outcomes.
So, thirdly, I make sure I put the right metrics in my plan. These measurable metrics call out why your project is important and why the improvements you are delivering align with the organization's strategic drivers. As an added bonus, historical information on actual benefits realized or not by previous projects can help executives make better decisions when they're prioritizing future projects. The fourth but often forgotten step in writing your business realization plan is to carve out some evaluation steps around the benefits.
How will the benefits owner know how and when to report against the progress made? How will lessons learnt be captured and communicated? By putting all of this information into your benefits realization plan, you'll help the benefits be clearly understood. Don't settle for a vague sense that the project was a good thing. A benefits realization plan documents the details of how the benefits will be measured and captures those measurements so that they can be used later.
The last thing a project sponsor wants to do is go searching for the pieces they need. Your benefits realization plan becomes the definitive source and may be even easily found on a cluttered desk.
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- Creating a business benefits roadmap
- Establishing a realization plan
- Monitoring business benefits
- Reporting results