Aug 18, 2016

Integrating Benefits Realization and Strategy Execution … What Took Us So Long?

Posted by Deborah Bigelow Crawford | 1 Comment

Benefits Realization isn't a luxury … it is key to sustained organizational improvement.

I just finished reading PMI’s new research on the “Benefits realization management and strategic project success analysis of UK, USA, and Brazil.”   I found the research quite interesting, and it energized some thoughts, starting with revisiting our approach to strategy execution.

PM Solutions’ Strategy Execution model is based on the idea, which also underpins the BR model developed by our colleagues in the United Kingdom, that “you start with the end in mind.” You need to strategize on what change initiatives will benefit your organization most.  Once you know what changes you are pursuing to add value to your organization, then you select projects that will provide the output and outcomes necessary to meet those strategic objectives, and thus produce those business changes.

The next step, after developing your business strategy and prioritizing your portfolio with these benefit-driven projects, is managing and monitoring these projects.  Doing this with a “benefit management mindset” makes this process more forward-looking than our traditional way of managing projects.  This new approach is dynamic always looking for and identifying emerging benefits and dis-benefits.  A Benefits Profile should be developed for each benefit, noting how it will be measured, associated KPIs, the dependencies, and any other pertinent information. Throughout this process, you are not just creating your Precedence Diagram for project activities but, in parallel, you are creating a Benefits Dependency Map.  In addition to the traditional Risk Register, you now have a Benefits Register.  You can see how benefits management can easily be integrated into project management but there are a few major differences that we will be capturing in our Strategy Execution model:

  1. Benefits Realization begins in Strategy Development, and filters down through the portfolio selection process, with the anticipated benefits clearly described and planned in the business case.
  2. New tools, such as a Benefits Register, Benefit Profiles, a Benefits Realization Plan, and a Benefits Performance Scorecard are done in parallel with our traditional project management tools.
  3. The Benefits Realization model is forward looking, always trying to identify emerging benefits and dis-benefits.  It is an iterative process with continuous looping back in all process areas.
  4. The Benefits Realization model exists beyond the project closure.  As such, transition of the benefits management must be accounted for in the project’s work breakdown structure. The embedded changes are continuously measured and reviewed until the benefits projected in the business case are realized.

Integrating Benefits Realization into Strategy Execution is not  a luxury … it is key to sustained organizational improvement.  We’re excited to be leading this new way of thinking in a way that makes Benefits Realization adoption stick!    


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1 Comment on Integrating Benefits Realization and Strategy Execution

Opeyemi Iyekolo says:

Hello Deborah

I agree that Benefits realization is important to the success of strategy execution, however this is a thought that has been in the project management space for awhile.
What has been lacking is the discipline to keep sight of benefits realization in the face of the challenges of implementing projects.Many organizations are just glad to be done with their projects such that the act of reaching the “finish line” is a realized benefit

Posted on September 14, 2016 at 11:26 am

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