Project teams can be forgiven if they don’t bake benefit management planning into their project plans. After all, they are focused on delivery; once the project is delivered and closeout activities have concluded, they need to move on to their next gig; and there is no expectation that they hang around to check whether the benefits the project was brought about to realize will, in fact, be realized.
Why, then, should project teams be concerned with benefit management activities? Two reasons: First, the project team is best positioned to provide input into benefit management strategies since it has been living and breathing the project. Second, as I noted in the Crazy Dancing Guy post from a few weeks back, the fact that a project’s deliverables have been delivered does not constitute success. It is incumbent upon the project team to do everything it can to ensure project success–including preparing business teams to manage the benefits the project was spun up to achieve.
To help you get started, I have attached a link to a sample Benefits Register at the bottom of this post with some key elements to include in benefits management planning:
Stakeholders’ Hopes and Concerns
Start by meeting with your key stakeholders to review their hopes and concerns. You can likely pull these from your stakeholder profile (if you don’t have a stakeholder profile, ping me; I have a template you can use). Ask them to (re)describe what success looks like. In addition, ask your stakeholders who will be managing their benefits; and begin engaging this resource if s/he is not already attending project meetings.
Next, work with your stakeholders to understand what their benefit targets are (consider qualitative as well as quantitative benefits). Often these are already in the business case, and just need to be elaborated. At what point can the changes brought about by the project be considered successful?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Now that you have targets, ask your stakeholder / business team to think about how they will measure the degree to which the benefit targets are being achieved. (PM Hack: kpilibrary.com has a database full of KPIs)
Reporting & Cadence
Lastly, consider the media/forum to be used for reporting benefit realization (PowePoint? Email? Presentation at a meeting?) as well as the cadence (monthly? quarterly?).
Benefit tracking should not be an afterthought. Start early, by planning with the project business team while everyone is still engaged.
Find more tips like this one at Professional Services Plus