Getting benefits and value from projects is not peripheral or tangential, rather they are the core reason we do projects. Benefits, therefore, should not be "hoped for" or "someone else’s responsibility" to deliver but the main focus and intent of ALL the project's activities.

Benefits Realization Is The Core Reason Why We Do Projects.

We do projects to move from our current state to some future state because we believe that this future state will be more beneficial than maintaining the status quo (i.e. doing nothing).

How we do define “more beneficial”? Well, it can mean: lower cost, increased revenue, more compliant, more competitive, or whatever. However, if we don’t get these benefits, we’re worse off.

We’ve incurred the time, effort, and cost (and distraction) of the project without the payoff — the benefits. All pain for no (or insufficient) gain.

Realising benefits is not, therefore, ‘extra work’ but is the overall driving force of a project and the measure of success.

The business Case Needs To Change

The Business Case needs to move from being a means to justify the cost and get funding to be the statement of the project’s value equation, which the project then goes on to deliver. The project's cost is simply one of the resources required to deliver the value.

We need to shift our perspective from ‘delivering projects’ to ‘realizing benefits and value’.

In Conclusion

We need to view each and every aspect of the project through the ‘benefits and value lens’. Not because this is an advanced or ‘better’ way of approaching projects, but because that is the reason why we do projects.

Let’s put ‘benefits realization’ center-stage. Then we’ll start consistently delivering real value. Now there’s an idea!

Learn more about how deliver benefits


Topics: Benefits Management, Fifteen Critical Insights


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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Jan 2009) as "Critical Insights (1) - We Do Projects To Realize Benefits"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections