When projects are designed and pitched, details of the desired benefits are generally set out in the Business Case. Unfortunately, for many organisations, this is where the benefits realisation process both begins and ends.
It’s high time that the benefits realisation approach changes, because by maintaining a focus on benefits long after the delivery celebration, the true success of a project becomes clear.
The trouble is that Project Managers are tasked with the delivery being successful, not the benefits. When their job is done, the table is set for benefits, but the dinner isn’t served yet because benefits (obviously) accrue when whatever the project has delivered and is operating in the real world.
Stakeholder groups, on the other hand, tend to focus on time, scope and budget during the project and lose sight of the benefits being delivered. After the project closes it’s on to the next thing.
All of which is just fine, except…what about those benefits, which should be the essential purpose of the project in the first instance? That’s right…everyone’s lost sight of them, whether being delivered (one certainly hopes) or not. The Business Case documents and benefit plans are left gathering dust in filing cabinets, or virtual cobwebs in local PC folders.
This highlights the necessity to put someone in charge of taking ownership of the benefits after the project closes and the PM rolls onto the next project. It’s at this point that traditional Project Management technology has let PMOs down. Which is why I’m pleased to tell you that it’s no longer necessary to rely on shaky memories of benefits. Instead, with Sensei Empower PPM, we’ve introduced a central location for all project information. Yes, that includes all benefit information.