Top 5 things you must do to extract benefits from a project

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Fay MacDonald
Fay MacDonald is the Founder & Director of Solutions Change who provide Professional Services to the Healthcare sector in the UK. Their services include Project and Programme Management and a wide variety of other Professional Services related to change projects and programmes involving, people, processes and technology. Fay has 20+ years of experience in business professional services, IT and business change programmes including 7 years with KPMG Consulting in London.

Many fail at the simple task of Benefits Delivery

Many Projects, big and small, complex and simple fail to deliver benefits. Yet it is actually a pretty simple thing to do if the proper steps are followed.

What are the Top 5 things to do?

  1. Start early: The work on extracting the honey [Benefits Realisation] needs to start up-front when scoping and planning the Project;
  2. Press the flesh: Assumptions need to be challenged. People from areas that will be impacted or relied upon for any part of the delivery need to be invited to comment;
  3. Clear understanding and clear articulation: If the Business Case is woolly in any way, then it is almost certain that the Benefits will not be delivered in the time-frames that are claimed. The key components need to be spelled out and well articulated;
  4. Sustained workstream: To achieve the Benefits, the effort in scoping and planning of the benefits needs to be sustained throughout the Project. The effort on looking at the details in the scoping phase merely proves that Benefits are possible. However, they won’t deliver themselves;
  5. Ask great questions: The quality of the Benefits Case and the quality of the delivery depends so much on having asked great questions of the right people. A Project Manager cannot be expected to know the detail of all the “Why, What, Who, Where, How and When” aspects for that particular organisation. However, the Project Manager and the writer of the Benefits Case needs to know that the questions need to be asked…and answered.

benefits of SEO

Great questions to ask to ensure that the Benefits Case is achievable

The OBJECTIVES questions

  • which organisational objectives which will be achieved if the organisation makes this improvement?
  • what will the impact be on the organisation if the organisation does nothing?
  • what are the alternatives?

The WHAT questions

  • what improvement does the organisation want and what can be achieved, quantified as picture of the before (the baseline) and after (benefits realisation)?
  • what changes are needed: in the way things are done (the business processes), the systems used (IT and manual), the people doing them (roles, job functions, training)?
  • what measurements are possible: are the benefits tangible or intangible and how will they be measured and tracked?

The WHO questions

  • who will be affected by any changes required in work practices in achieving the benefits?
  • who will need to become involved in the Project to ensure delivery of Project activities and tasks?
  • who will need to be invited to join / liaise with the Project regarding any dependencies e.g. concurrent Projects?

The WHERE questions

  • where specifically (departments, functions, geographies) in the organisation will the benefits occur?
  • where are dis-benefits likely to occur elsewhere in the organisation as a result of changing the way things are done in one area?

The HOW questions

  • how will the changes be made in day-to-day terms, tasks and activities?…and is a pilot required?
  • How will the pilot need to be structured to test out theories and assumptions?

…and the WHEN questions

  • when will the changes be made?
  • when will the benefits be realised?

Read more…


Projects with Benefits - extracting the honey

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