Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Realising the Benefits

Question 19: Will the deliverables and benefits of your project survive?

Woman with a large bag of money

21 Ways to Excel at Project Management

Good Practice: On most projects, the team is disbanded soon after delivery. This can result in the solution withering away and dying over time, especially if it has fallen on stony ground. This can be true for a project that involves a change in working practices, or revised business processes.

On a recent large project, after the usual development and implementation stages, the project team was retained for a third stage called 'benefits realisation.' This was to make sure the roots of the new business process and supporting IT system would grow deep and deliver real business value. A project should only be considered completed when the benefits have been delivered to the business and not when the project has just been delivered. This will make sure that implementation problems are resolved.

To gain benefits you must have change. In their book 'The Information Paradox,' John Thorp and DMR's Centre for Strategic Leadership say that, It is a central tenet of the Benefits Realisation Approach that benefits come only with change and, equally, change must be sustained by benefits. People must change how they think, manage and act in order to implement the Benefits Realisation Approach.

Changing the way people think, work and manage is no easy task, but without it your project is in danger of joining a long list of successful project deliveries that never realised their expected benefit or result.

Common Mistakes

  • Believing that a project is over once the delivery and implementation is complete.
  • Expecting benefits automatically to drop out of the project without any effort.
  • Expecting benefits without change.