Benefits Realisation Management: Definition And Stages
Updated 30 September 2022
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Benefits realisation management (BRM) is a technique that measures the value of projects and programmes. It is important for professionals to understand how their work and team contribute to a company's bigger goals. Understanding the details of the BRM process can help you ensure the relevancy and success of any proposed projects. In this article, we define the benefits of realisation management, discuss the stages of this technique, provide some ways to visualise BRM, review factors that are important during BRM framework development and explore the importance of benefits realisation.
What Is Benefits Realisation Management?
Benefits realisation management is an organisational method for determining the worth of proposed projects and programmes. This method facilitates the management of a company's investment of time and resources to pursue change and positive outcomes. Typically, it involves identifying, defining, planning, tracking and realising business benefits. When applied to a specific project, BRM entails the initiation, organisation, execution, control and support of changes in an organisation via management strategies to realise the pre-defined benefits of a project.
Related: Programme Management Vs. Project Management (Definitions)
3 Stages Of Benefits Realisation Management
Here are the three stages of BRM:
1. Identify the benefits
The first phase of BRM involves the identification of the expected benefits. Consider collaborating with the team to determine the expected value of a particular initiative. This can help you determine if a proposed project is feasible and if its outcomes can contribute to the organisation's bigger goals. Then, you can share your projections with the project's stakeholders to help ensure that the project's intended outcomes match the organisational goals and mission.
During the identification of the benefits of a proposed project, you can consider asking yourself and the team the following questions:
Can you clearly define the benefits?
Do you know how to measure the benefits?
When can you deliver the benefits?
Do the project's expected outcomes coincide with the business's strategic goals?
Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master
2. Execute the benefits
After identifying a project's benefits, you can proceed to the next phase, which focuses on executing those benefits. This requires establishing practices and completing each task to achieve the desired outcomes. Consider employing management techniques to minimise risks to future benefits and maximise the possibility of achieving additional benefits. A crucial component of this stage is the development of a benefits realisation plan, which typically comprises:
List of the desired project outcomes
Changes required to achieve a project's results
Key performance indicators for progress measurement
Required roles and responsibilities to realise the benefits
Strategy for communicating progress to stakeholders
Procedures for identifying opportunities to produce new benefits
When executing the benefits of a project, you can ask yourself a series of questions to determine whether you have completed this stage. For instance, you may consider whether you have effectively conveyed the project's benefits to its stakeholders. You can also ask whether the project team knows how the outcomes contribute to business benefits. Another critical factor to consider is to identify who gets the responsibility to update the project's benefits to reflect new information and shifting business conditions.
Related: Project Architect Vs. Project Manager: Find The Difference
3. Sustain the benefits
Benefits maintenance is the last phase of BRM. This step focuses on ensuring that the results of a project or programme continue to contribute value to the organisation. You can complete this step by evaluating the performance of the deliverables of a project. Consider collaborating with the team to identify improvement opportunities for future projects. As you near the completion of the last phase of benefits realisation, you can consider the following questions to ensure BRM efficiency:
Are you providing the benefits within the specified timeline?
Has the team optimised the benefits to their maximum capacity?
Have the project's stakeholders approved the benefits?
Did the team deliver the project results and capabilities to the business owners?
Who is responsible for measuring the realised benefits to the business plans?
Related: What Are The Objectives Of Project Management? (With Phases)
Ways To Visualise BRM
Following are several methods to help you visualise benefits realisation:
Benefits dependency map
A benefits dependency map demonstrates how a project relates to an organisation's strategic goals. There are five sections, each with its own function. Here are the sections you can include in a benefits dependency map:
Objective: This section describes the project's measurable ultimate goal that supports an organisation's mission.
Final benefit: It discusses the reasons a stakeholder may invest in a project and the desired outcomes.
Intermediate benefits: Here, you can discuss the benefits that contribute to the final project goal.
Business changes or outputs: It refers to the required changes for a project to occur or the deliverables from a project that may help you achieve a company's bigger goals.
Enabler: This section describes the systems or processes that enable a team to realise the benefits of a project.
Related: What Are Principles Of Management? (With 14 Types)
Benefits dependency network
Like a benefits dependency map, a benefits dependency network aims to maximise digital investment returns. This method comprises six sections that facilitate the visualisation of your BRM strategies. Here are the six sections you can include in a benefits dependency network:
Business drivers: This refers to a company's high-level drivers for change.
Objectives: It includes a few sentences on your benefits dependency network that define the project's focus.
Expected benefits: This section outlines the benefits of implementing organisational changes for specific individuals, groups or the entire company.
Enabling changes: Use this section to discuss the modifications necessary to achieve the project's objectives.
Sustaining changes: It typically explains the modifications important to sustain organisational changes.
IS or IT enablers: This section refers to any information systems or technologies necessary to support organisational changes and realise a project's deliverables.
Related: What Is Project Planning? (How To Create A Project Plan)
A results chain is another way to visualise a benefits realisation plan. It is simpler than the previous two, with only four components. Here are the four components you can include on a results chain:
Outcome: This section describes the desired outcomes of your project.
Initiative: It addresses any actions and activities that contribute to the project's outcome. You can also outline any required modifications or financial investments.
Contribution: This section expands on the initiative element by providing measurable descriptions of how an initiative contributes to the project's outcome.
Assumption: The last section of a results chain defines the elements that you assume can happen or that you may have available so you can achieve the desired project outcome.
Related: A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Manage Projects (With Tips)
Factors Important To Consider During BRM Framework Development
Here are some factors that are important to consider during BRM framework development:
This is a crucial component of BRM. While putting in enough effort to ensure visibility, it is also essential to prevent visibility from becoming available only to the leadership. For every maximum benefits realisation value, each stakeholder requires at least a basic understanding of their tasks. Transparency is another essential element to be present concerning each aspect.
BRM provides consistent visibility, which helps to avoid oversupply. As a result, stakeholders are often unaware, while project leaders may properly know each modification, obstacle, requirement and accomplishment. Leaders can prioritise constant visibility by communicating information based on relevancy and importance to achieve a sense of harmony.
Realise the project's maximum potential
BRM ensures the team realises its full potential while working on a project. It does not leave any long-term obstacles or challenges. It also confirms that the team completes every step to ensure the project's success.
Related: Project Manager Vs. Resource Manager: What's The Difference?
Match the project's and organisation's goals
When projects become excessively complex, they may still result in benefits, but they may rarely match the organisation's objectives and established framework to realise the benefits. To prevent this, you can try to ensure that BRM controls the design of each project step. A common misconception is that alignment with the project and organisation's objectives shows that each success benchmark measures individual tasks, whereas BRM exceeds this. It involves the goal translation, enabling stakeholders to comprehend that the other objectives also contribute to the overall goals.
Stakeholders' engagement and communication are common components of almost every project. BRM enables the leadership to unite individuals and team members easily to pursue shared values. To accomplish this without limiting the creative freedom or the extent of their abilities by consistently communicating and participating is paramount.
Related: What Is A Shareholder? (With Rights And Responsibilities)
Another important aspect of BRM is budget management. At first, it can be a complex component, but it can quickly become a simple tool for generating even more benefits by implementing the right and most effective framework in place. Being on a budget is also important for the successful delivery of benefits.
Related: What Is Zero-Based Budgeting? (Advantages And How To Create)
Importance of benefits realisation
Benefits realisation is important, as it enables businesses to take on projects and efficiently deliver the expected benefits. Following are the importance of benefits realisation:
Avoidance of delays
Implementation of every assured advantage
Prevention of basic and significant mistakes
Sustainable use of resources
Effective change management
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