Benefits realisation management
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Benefits realisation management (BRM) (also benefits management or benefits realisation) is one of the many ways of managing how time and resources are invested into making desirable changes. The popularity of BRM grew in the UK with the inclusion of BRM by the UK Government in their standardised approach to programmes, Managing Successful Programmes (MSP).
In addition, BRM practices aim to ensure the alignment between project outcomes and business strategies. The effectiveness of these practices is supported by recent research evidencing BRM practices influencing project success from a strategic perspective across different countries and industries. Nevertheless, although project - and strategic - success is inextricably linked to maturity in Benefits realization, the Project Management Institute (PMI) identified that only one in five organisations report high maturity in Benefits Realisation.
"If value is to be created and sustained, benefits need to be actively managed through the whole investment lifecycle. From describing and selecting the investment, through programme scoping and design, delivery of the programme to create the capability and execution of the business changes required to utilise that capability, and the operation and eventual retirement of the resulting assets. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case."
As with all project management methodologies, BRM has clear roles and responsibilities, processes, principles and deliverables. BRM is used to manage the investment by organizations in procurement, projects, programmes and portfolios. BRM is also used to ensure the organization maintains a benefits focus during continuing business operations.
Outcomes are changes identified as important by stakeholders and can be strategic or non-strategic. A benefit is a measurable positive impact of change. A dis-benefit is a measurable negative impact of change. Successful BRM requires accountable people, relevant measures and proactive management.
A generic BRM process is to:
- Identify the investment outcomes
- Define benefit measures for each outcome
- Collect current benefit measure data to have a quantitative basis for decision making
- Agree a tailored BRM approach for this investment
- Plan the new or changed capabilities necessary to realize the benefits
- Plan the investments needed to make the changes necessary to create or change the capabilities
- Optimize the plan to reduce waste and have acceptable levels of resource, risk, cost, quality and time
- Implement the plan
- Review the impact of the plan implementation on the Benefit Measures and use insights to improve
- On completion of the plan, ensure BRM continues to sustain the capabilities and realisation of benefits
To identify the investment outcomes pictorial views of the outcomes of interest on an outcome map (also called a results chain, benefits dependency network  or benefit map) can be created. This technique supports agreement of the outcomes sought as it shows the outcomes and relationships between them on a single page. They can be agreed upon and communicated clearly as a result.
Data can then be captured either separately or within a suitable modelling tool for each outcome that will include the benefit measures used for each, ownership and accountability information and information to support realisation management.
Constructing benefits maps or graphs is usually done from right to left, with what is attempting to be achieved (often called objectives, strategic outcomes etc.) being the start point, then moving through intermediate outcomes to the things required to cause these to happen at the very left.
Benefits dependency networks (BDN)
The benefits dependency network has five types of object within maps.
- Investment Objectives
- A small number of statements that define the focus of the project and how it links to investment drivers.
- Advantages to specific individuals or groups of individuals.
- Business Changes
- Changes required in the business to hit the Benefits.
- Enabling Changes
- Changes required to allow the Business Changes to happen.
- IS/IT enablers
- "The information systems and technology required to support the realization of identified benefits and allow the necessary changes to be undertaken."
Benefits dependency map (BDM)
The benefits dependency map also has five types of object on the maps
- Bounding Objective
- Measurable end goals which support the vision of what is being attempted.
- End Benefit
- Independent Benefits (not interlinked) that achieve the objective.
- Intermediate Benefit
- "An outcome of change which is perceived as positive by a stakeholder".
- Business Change
- Changes to the business or environment of the business
- Something developed / purchased to enable the realisation of benefit.
The results chain has three types of object on the maps.
- The results being aimed at.
- An action or activity that contributes to outcomes.
- Something believed to be required to realize outcomes or initiatives which the organisation has no or little control over.
- OGC (2003) Managing Successful Programmes, London, The Stationery Office.
- Serra, C. E. M. & Kunc, M., 2014. Benefits Realisation Management and its influence on project success and on the execution of business strategies. International Journal of Project Management, Issue http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2014.03.011.
- Project Management Institute, Pulse of the Profession, PMI, Newtown Square, PA, 2014. http://www.pmi.org/Learning/Pulse.aspx
- APM Winning Hearts Brochure. Association for Project Management - Benefits Management Special Interest Group. 2011. p. 3.
- Thorp, J. (1998) The Information Paradox – realizing the business benefits of information technology, Toronto, Canada, McGraw-Hill.
- Ward, J. and Murray, P. (1997), Benefits Management: Best Practice Guidelines. Cranfield School of Management, Information Systems Research
- Bradley, G. (2006), Benefit Realisation Management – A practical guide to achieving benefits through change, Gower, Hampshire.