Benefit Realization in Project Management
Dr. Agus Setiawan

PhD Holder and result-oriented Director with 25 years experience with involvement in all levels of Business Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Managing Project and Product Development. Aside of managing a company, he is also the best corporate trainer and public speaker in seminar and conference.

Opening the Black Box of Benefit Realization in Project Management

In the realm of project management, the successful execution of a project is often measured by its ability to deliver on its intended benefits. When organizations cannot realize their intended benefits, it can have various consequences Here are some potential outcomes:

  • Financial losses
  • Reputational damage
  • Resource reallocation
  • Stakeholder dissatisfaction
  • Missed opportunities

Benefits realization management serves as a crucial yet confusing aspect. Much like a black box, it hides the complexity of how project outcomes translate into tangible benefits. Let’s uncover the black box, shall we?

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Understanding Benefits Realization Management (BRM)

Benefits Realization Management is a process of systematically identifying, planning, and realizing the expected benefits from projects. It’s not just about completing projects on time; rather, it's about ensuring that the intended benefits materialize. Benefit realization is not a one-time event but a continuous journey that extends well beyond the project's closure, focusing on the long-term value creation that the project was intended to bring.

The following are some key components of benefit realization:

  • Benefit Identification & Definition

    Having a clear and well-defined objectives and benefits of a project are the very foundation of successful benefit realization. Do note, that these objectives must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

  • Benefits Ownership

    It involves assigning clear responsibility and accountability to specific individuals or teams within an organization. Benefits ownership ensures that someone is accountable for making sure the benefits are achieved and that any obstacles or issues that may arise during the process are addressed effectively.

  • Benefits Mapping

    It’s a technique used in project and benefits realization management to visually represent the relationship between project activities and the intended benefits or outcomes. It helps organizations and project teams understand how specific project components or actions contribute to the achievement of broader strategic goals and objectives to track progress and measure success.

  • Benefits Measurement and Monitoring

    As an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and evaluation, a regular assessment on whether the project is on the right track to deliver expected benefits should be conducted. In the event of deviation, corrective measure must be swiftly conducted to realign project with the intended goals

  • Benefits Realization Plan

    A Benefit Realization Plan is an essential roadmap for ensuring that the projected advantages of a particular project or initiative come to fruition post-implementation. Key to this process is the establishment of clear metrics and measures, which, when compared against baseline measurements, show the progression from the project's start. Targets are then delineated for each benefit, illustrating when and how they should be reached. This all feeds into a benefit realization schedule, which provides a timeline for the expected realization of each benefit.

3 Essential Stages of Benefit Realization Management

When implementing benefit realization process, there are 3-stage processes that needs to take into account, which are:

  • Identify

    Determine the expected benefit at the start of a project. Within this stage, benefits must align with the organization’s overall strategic goals and objectives. Additionally, within this stage, it is important to ensure that the benefits are tangible, long-term, and are outlined in a benefit register and roadmap.

  • Execute

    Executing benefits requires a forward-thinking mindset, where teams are not just focused on meeting the baseline requirements but are continuously looking for ways to optimize results. It's about being strategic, and ensuring that every decision made aligns with the overarching goal of enhancing value while maintaining a safe and minimal risk progress.

  • Sustain

    This stage occurs in post implementation. Project deliverables are finished, and the way the project progressed are evaluated (the wins, the failure, and the what could be improved upon in both performance and functionality).

Benefit Realization Management (BRM) is an essential tool in the toolkit of modern project management. By breaking down the journey from project initialization to tangible benefit delivery, BRM provides clarity and direction, ensuring that projects are not just completed, but they truly resonate with the overarching organizational goals

Aubry, M., El Boukri, S., & Sergi, V. (2023). Opening The Black Box Of Benefits Management In The Context Of Projects. Social Science Space.
Grover, N. (2022). 3 Critical stages of benefit realization management.
Ugwu, K. (2022). Understanding benefits realization and why it matters. Zalando PMO Blog.

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