This video explains some nuanced ways to avoid common mistakes when populating the roadmap.
- I don't think I've ever taken a roadtrip where there wasn't a bump in the road. There are always going to be potholes, speed bumps, and detours. To keep safe, it is important to look ahead and know how to deal with things as they come along your route. Using the same thought process when it comes to benefits roadmap can smooth out your journey and save you wasting time along the way. The business benefits roadmap is not complicated. What complicates things are the nuances that surround it.
There are six common mistakes that are often made. Here's your chance to learn from them. The first mistake is not getting the right level of engagement from senior stakeholders or the right stakeholders. You think they're interested, but they don't take an active interest in or sign up to the benefits. This means that at the end of the day, they don't take responsibility for measuring the benefits, and they don't have skin in the game. One way to avoid this mistake is to take the time to understand the business need, and strategic outcomes, that are drivers in your project.
If these things aren't real enough for the senior stakeholders, it's your job to collect the facts to make them real. Or if the facts don't stack up, have the courage to suggest that maybe the time isn't right for the project. The second mistake relates to not clearly articulating the definitions and descriptors of outcomes, outputs, and assumptions. Executives are happy to make sweeping statements about benefits. A project is going to make things bigger, better, or faster.
Your job is to encourage every benefits statement to be as specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely, or smart, as possible. And if stakeholders make wild assumptions, pull together the facts to prove or disprove the assumptions. By being robust in your research, you'll be doing everyone a favor. The third common mistake happens when stakeholders are allowed to spend too much time on the solution or the detail.
They don't focus from a strategic view, through to the key outputs that are required. They don't consider what the summary benefit will look like. Avoiding this mistake is easy. You just make sure that you align the required outcomes of the project with the organization's strategic objectives. If they can't be aligned, the warning bell should go off that the benefits aren't really what the business needs. Fourth in the list is the inability to adjust the benefit as it evolves.
Sometimes this will happen as a natural consequence of the project lifecycle. It can happen when more information is made available. The way to get around it is to focus on managing and reporting the benefits through the lifecycle. Make decisions based on the benefit measure, not on the perceptions of what the benefits should or could be. Realism is your ally when it comes to avoiding this mistake. The fifth common mistake is not testing the roadmap by discussing and validating the current business problem.
What you should do is ask three questions. What has to change to the project and operations? What has to stop? And if the benefit is realized, will it make a big difference? Lastly, there's the poorly defined strategy mistake. When stakeholders can't clearly articulate the strategy, they'll really struggle to be clear on the benefits that will work towards a strategic outcome. Start the strategic conversations with senior stakeholders.
Encourage them if you can to have robust debate on what the strategic outcome should be. And then, get them to sign off on the benefits. Ownership and continuous improvement throughout the benefits realization lifecycle are your keys to success. By influencing these things and collecting the supporting facts, you'll be able to avoid many of the common bumps that pop up along the road to project success.
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- Creating a business benefits roadmap
- Establishing a realization plan
- Monitoring business benefits
- Reporting results