Am I Being Unreasonable?
When recently reviewing a project that had a projected benefits value of $32m we found that the true available value was over $100m.
So, if the project delivered only $32 million of benefits, is this a success, or is it a failure for failing to realise the other $70+ million?
One of our surprising findings when we conducted our worldwide research into where the value went on projects was that the business case signified the greatest single destroyer of value. Most business cases left vast amounts of money ‘on the table’ unidentified.
How business cases are generated, their myopic focus on dollar benefits (a focus that actually reduces the value identified) and their inability to compute benefits in ways that could be tracked throughout the project, all contributed to the loss of value.
Missing 25% of the available value was common. Many, as in the case above, missed more than they found. And, if you don’t identify the benefits you’re unlikely to realise them. So, the full available value goes unrecognised, un-targeted and unrealised.
NB Most projects still struggle to realise the value they target, so this is a double loss — some value is missed and some of the identified value is lost or destroyed.
As business case generation is part of the project, surely inadequacies in this area are a ‘failure’ of the project.
So, when I class projects like the example above as having ‘failed’ on at least one significant dimension — the realisation of all of the available benefits — is this fair or being unreasonable?