Alternative name(s)
BenefitsPlanning.gif
http://www.minney.org/keywords/benefits-management, Hugo Minney, 14th February 2013

Benefits realisation
Benefits realisation management

Description

Benefit management is a continuous and periodical management of time and resources invested in making changes that a project stakeholder(s) requires. The amount of investment in a project is only considered successful if the initial benefits the stakeholders required are met. Benefits, with regards to project management, can be defined as any positive outcome as a result of the project. This may be increased profit or improved productivity. Negative benefits or dis-benefits can also arise from projects and these tend do be anything negative, such as increased running costs, that arises from the project.

Benefits management has a strong identity in project management. If done correctly, benefits management can increase the successful delivery of business benefits to stakeholder and organisations. Benefits management focuses on the benefits that will arise as a result of the proposed change, or project, and constructing a framework to identify, plan, measure and manage the expected benefits.
(DFP, 2013)

Benefits management aids project managers to focus on how expected benefits will be achieved and promotes continuous realisation of the benefits expected from a project throughout the project's lifecycle. Continuous review of the original specification of benefits is needed in order to help identify any more activities that need to take place to improve the final delivery of benefit. This will ultimately create a link between the requirements of a project and its outcome. (Cornwell, 2007)

A project management tool known as Project Realisation Method (BRM) is used to measure and maximize the benefits a manager can obtain from a project. An effective BRM requires responsible individuals, important measures and agile management.

Agile values

As described earlier the amount of investment in a project is only considered successful if the initial benefits the stakeholders required are met therefore customer collaboration over contract negotiation is an Agile value that relates strongly to benefits management. Strong customer collaboration ensures that the project team can see to any changes or requests in a more effective manner.

Responding to change over following a plan can also be related to benefits management. Changes to a stakeholder’s requirements need to be managed effectively to ensure that the resulting benefits can be realised and measured at the end of a project.

Agile principles

Benefits should be specified at the beginning of every project so it can be constantly measured and understood. This would help avoid any confusion on a project, which could lead to delays and extra costs or possibly not realising benefits.

The first Agile principle that can be applied to benefits management is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. This principle is relevant to benefits management as customers need to be provided with early and continuous feedback on the project's status in order to reassure the customer that the agreed benefits will come to fruition. Scheduled reviews can help track the progress of targeted benefits and adjust any process that may deter the benefits from being achieved. (eHealth, 2007)

The project manager must also acquire motivated individuals who would work on the project to fulfill the requirements of Benefits Realisation Management (BRM) and manage the project effectively. These individuals must reflect on how to become more effective and adjusts their behavior accordingly to suit the required benefits the customer would achieve from the project.

Agile practices

Active stakeholders is an extremely strong Agile practice that can be related to benefits management. As stakeholders ultimately define the benefits that are expected as a result of a project, they need to be actively involved in the project.

Another Agile practice that is applicable to benefits management is Continuous Testing‍. This practice can be applied to this knowledge area as continuous testing will test if the product is fit for purpose, therefore whether it will produce the expected benefits. Rather than testing towards the end of a project where it could be considered as being too late to make any changes, continuous testing throughout the project will help flag up any issues early on that can be rectified.

Onsite Customer is a practice from XP that can be related to benefits management. If the customer is situated closely to the area where work is taking place then they can request any changes to the requirement or features of the product. This will lead to better management of the benefits expected as any changes will be identified at the earliest possible time

Discussion


The traditional approach to benefits management includes clarifying, with the client, the benefits that are expected to arise as a result of the project. The problem with this approach is that new benefits tend to arise as the project progresses therefore some benefits will not be identified.

The Agile approach to this knowledge area allows for constant identification of expected benefits. Regular communication with stakeholders throughout a project means that benefits that could potentially arise as the project progresses can be identified.

Links from this KA to other KAs

Requirements Management can be linked to benefits management as the requirements of a project will help achieve the expected benefits. Other knowledge areas that can be linked to benefits management is People Management and Communication Management. People ultimately define the success of a project and help the benefits become realised and the communication between different parties within a project environment needs to be of a high quality.

References

Agile Manifesto (2001). Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto. Available at: http://agilemanifesto.org/iso/en/principles.html [Accessed on: 08/02/13]
Cornwell (2007). Programme and Project Management: Benefits Management. Available at: http://www.cornwell.co.uk/project_management/benefits_management.asp [Accessed on: 09/02/13]
Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) (2013). Benefits Management. Avaialable at:http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/benefits-management-mainsection1-3 [Accessed on: 11/02/13]
eHealth (2007). eHealth Benefits Management Toolkit: Benefits Definitions and Measurement. Available at: http://www.ehealth.scot.nhs.uk/?page_id=153 [Accessed on: 11/02/13]

External links



http://www.cornwellbc.com/services/agile-/agile-benefits-management
http://www.versionone.com/Agile101/Agile-Software-Development-Benefits/
http://epmlive.com/articles/5-benefits-of-agile/

Read in another language