If you fail to actively deliver the post-project benefits, you can lose over 50% of the available value. You need a simple, effective process to ensure you deliver the benefits.

Whether You Deliver The Project Benefits During Or Post Project Will Make Or Break The Project's Value

You can lose value by not effectively planning, tracking or governing the delivery of benefits during the project,  at the time of implementation and post-project, thereby allowing them to ‘fall by the wayside’.

Post-project benefits can frequently represent over 50% of the available benefits.

Despite the presence of ‘benefits’ in the business case, most projects are not focused on the delivery of benefits – benefits are essentially “hoped for” rather than planned for.

Some methodologies now have ‘benefit owners’ and ‘benefits realisation plans’ but these are treated as separate to the project, further absolving project teams of benefit considerations and delivery. This is all wrong and leads to significant value loss.

You Do Projects To Deliver The Value

Benefits are why you do projects. You want the ‘gain’ for the ‘pain’. You commission projects to achieve the desired business outcomes,  benefits and value. If you don’t get the benefits you're worse off than if you had not started as you have incurred the ‘pain’ without the commensurate ‘gain’.

So, benefits realization is not some ‘hoped for after effect’ but should be the central focus of projects. This simple truth changes the whole focus of projects.

  • The business case, with its value proposition, should now be the central focus of the project as it defines the Value Equation to be delivered.
  • The project plans should now be essentially ‘change plans’ designed to move the organization from its current state to the defined future state and realize the associated benefits. Benefit realization should now be a central element of project planning.
  • And then you need to track, measure and deliver the benefits – during the project, at the time of implementation and afterwards. This is not ‘extra activity’ but why you’re doing the project in the first place.

In Conclusion

When you focus on benefits management and realization, the value derived from projects goes up exponentially.

Obviously really – but it does require an effective benefits realization focus and process.



Topics: Value Equation, Benefits Management


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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (June 2011) as "Where Does Value Go On Projects? Half Lost From Benefits Realization Failure"

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