The obstacles to the successful implementation of benefits management come in all shapes and sizes, but boil down to three root causes.

The challenge

Organizations commission projects/programs to realize the business benefits. Yet they don’t focus on these benefits.Instead they focus on managing the costs, as if this will (miraculously) deliver the benefits. But it doesn’t.

If anything, focusssing on cost management minimizes the benefits. How? Because the business case "cost/benefit" analysis will find ‘just enough’ benefits to offset the costs.

Then the project is managed through its life, tracking costs to the cent and making long term decisions assessed only by their impact on the costs! But not the benefits.

Then organizations wonder why they don’t get the benefits for their projects.

The solution?

Everyone has a ‘solution’ of sorts.

The Project Managers say, “Nothing to do with us” and focus on their deliverables. This just ignores the purpose of projects.

CFOs say, “Put the benefits in the future budgets to ensure their delivery”. This substitutes budget measurement for benefits management. It also encourages benefits minimization.

CEOs say, “Surely the benefits will come if we just deliver the project?” No they won’t.

Each of these ‘solutions’ destroys significant business value in it’s own way.

So what should you do?

If you are in muddy waters, some clarity would help. We need to talk clearly about benefits. There are three steps you can take now:

  1. Understand what the obstacles to effective Benefits Management are. 
  2. Understand the end-to-end benefits management process. 
  3. Understand the prerequisites to implementing benefits management

Explore further

Read our Primer -  The 26 obstacles to effective benefits management.

Watch this short video which shows how Benefits Management can be simple.

Topics: Project Success, Value Delivery, Value Equation, Benefits Management

Further Reading



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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (May 2015) as "We Need To Talk About 'Benefits'"

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