Understand how the business benefits processes can impact a business' bottom line and how to maximize the planned benefits of the project.
- [Instructor] "You cannot achieve what you cannot measure." It's an old project mantra that still holds true today. Measuring business benefits as they evolve through the benefit realization lifecycle provides valuable information to you as the project professional. With this information under your belt, you're better poised to achieve your expected strategic outcomes. It also provides good information to the Organizational Change management team to adjust their activities as the change is being planned and adopted by the operations.
Plus, it helps ensure the sponsor and decision makers that their business investment is sound. Benefits focus on the need to change the delivery of business change, in order to achieve the benefits of an investment. They also focus on understanding and managing progress on achieving outcomes, so you can manage the change journey. Benefits realization recognizes that benefits are dynamic, with the business case and benefits planning need to be kept alive by measuring key indicators through to realization.
As a result, benefits measurement, accountability, and reporting are key to the cultural shift, including continuous improvement to realize benefits. For benefits measurement, there are ways to determine their effectiveness. The most important thing to remember is that the benefits need to be as specific as possible, measured and monitored through to realization. And that they can inform any actions for continuous and ongoing improvements.
To ensure you have effective measurements, you may wish to answer the following questions. Are you measuring the right things? Are these measurements clearly associated to the strategic outcome? Will it be noticeable to a customer, employee, stakeholder, the service desk, to the public in the annual report, etc. When and how will we know the benefits will be realized? In determining the right measurements, and to measure these things the right way, remember your benefits need to pass the SMART test.
Are they being specific, easily measurable, agreed to with a name, roll, or position accountable to the benefit. Relevant, and time-bound. Remember, benefits can be tangible, financial and nonfinancial, and intangible, such as maintaining quality, increase morale, eliminating complaints, and creating access. Using specific language to define the measurement is helpful. I see a lot of generic language that I find less effective, such as talking about benefits that have improved, enhanced, aligned, optimized, or made better an organizational outcome.
It's our duty to suggest more specific terms such as, eliminated, decreased, increased, created, or maintained, that can actually be measured. Benefits must also be managed alongside expected negative outcomes, known as disbenefits. Disbenefits are the outcomes from organizational changes, which are perceived by one or more stakeholders, as negative. For example, new operational costs, or the loss of green space in an area due to the building of a new school.
The same change can be seen by different stakeholders as both a benefit, net cost reduction through fewer staff, and a disbenefit. Job losses. These disbenefits also need to be classified, managed, and measured in the same way as benefits. Disbenefits can be confused with risks. But where risks may be avoided, disbenefits will definitely be created by the required changes. Your job is to manage their impact.
It's important to understand which stakeholders will lose out so that this can be managed. Realizing the benefits is achieved by performing the required business change to monitor the progress towards achieving strategic objectives. Dependent upon the change, benefits can be experienced as an outcome, immediate benefit, and end benefit. This helps frame where we are along the journey to ultimately deliver against the required strategic objectives of the organization.
Any deviations from the plan can be assessed early, and the appropriate corrective action taken. Throughout this process, the business benefits register should be updated and maintained. There may be differences between what is initially proposed, and what is attainable as the project progresses. By managing, reporting, informing, analyzing, and understanding the outcomes, you are now ready to proactively support the delivery of benefits.
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- Creating a business benefits roadmap
- Establishing a realization plan
- Monitoring business benefits
- Reporting results