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Deliver Project Value With a Benefits Legitimacy Initiative

Ground project benefits in realistic metrics and stakeholder accountability.

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Contributors

  • Sandra Ellis, Principal of Electric Technology Deployment, Pacific Gas & Electric Company
  • Rory Friedman, Vice President of Operations, ILLUMITI
  • Ralph Gardiner, Director, Kaihen
  • Brenda Hobbs, Director of Enterprise Information Management, Barrick Gold Corporation
  • Gerry Holmes, Director of Information Technology, Canadian Cancer Society
  • Bashar Kellow, Senior Project Manager, Entergy Services, Inc.
  • Susan Kozik, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Group Health Cooperative
  • Charles Stevens, Principal and Managing Director, Anderson Worth Management Consulting

Your Challenge

  • People treat benefits as a box to tick on the business case, deflating or inflating them to facilitate project approval.
  • Even if benefits are properly defined, they are usually forgotten once the project is underway.
  • Subsequent changes to project scope may impact the viability of the project’s business benefits, resulting in solutions that do not deliver expected value.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • It is rare for project teams or sponsors to be held accountable for managing and/or measuring benefits. The assumption is often that no one will ask if benefits have been realized after the project is closed.
  • The focus is largely on the project’s schedule, budget, and scope, with little attention paid to the value that the project is meant to deliver to the organization.
  • Without an objective stakeholder to hold people accountable for defining benefits and demonstrating their delivery, benefits will continue to be treated as red tape.
  • Sponsors will not take the time to define benefits properly, if at all. The project team will not take the time to ensure they are still achievable as the project progresses. When the project is complete, no one will investigate actual project success.

Impact and Result

  • The project sponsor and business unit leaders must own project benefits; IT is only accountable for delivering the solution.
  • IT can play a key role in this process by establishing and supporting a benefits realization process. They can help business unit leaders and sponsors define benefits properly, identify meaningful metrics, and report on benefits realization effectively.
  • The project management office is ideally suited to facilitate this process by providing tools and templates, and a consistent and comparable view across projects.
  • Project managers are accountable for delivering the project, not for delivering the benefits of the project itself. However, they must ensure that changes to project scope are assessed for impact on benefits viability.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should establish a benefits legitimacy practice, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Establish benefits legitimacy during portfolio Intake

This phase will help you define a benefits management process to help support effective benefits definition during portfolio intake.

2. Maintain benefits legitimacy throughout project planning and execution

This phase will help you define a process for effective benefits management during project planning and the execution intake phase.

3. Close the deal on project benefits

This phase will help you define a process for effectively tracking and reporting on benefits realization post-project.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is an eleven call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Establish benefits legitimacy during portfolio intake

Call #1 - Scoping call.
Call #2 - Establish a job description for project sponsors.
Call #3 - Customize the metrics in the Benefits Commitment Form Template.
Call #4 - Develop a process flow for intake legitimacy and clarify roles and responsibilities.

Guided Implementation #2 - Maintain benefits legitimacy throughout project planning and execution

Call #1 - Review how benefits are managed within the project management lifecycle.
Call #2 - Integrate benefits management tactics and tools into your existing project management processes.
Call #3 - Develop a process flow for deployment legitimacy and clarify roles and responsibilities.

Guided Implementation #3 - Close the deal on project benefits

Call #1 - Review and pilot Info-Tech’s Portfolio Benefits Tracking Tool.
Call #2 - Define a post-project benefits reporting process.
Call #3 - Establish protocol for analyzing benefit lags.
Call #4 - Develop a process flow for post-project legitimacy and clarify roles and responsibilities.

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

Book Your Workshop

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Analyze the Current State of Benefits Management

The Purpose

  • Assess the current state of benefits management at your organization and establish a realistic target state.
  • Establish project and portfolio baselines for benefits management.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Set achievable workshop goals and align stakeholder expectations.
  • Establish a solid foundation for benefits management success.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Introductions and overview.

1.2

Discuss attendee expectations and goals.

1.3

Complete Info-Tech’s PPM Current State Scorecard.

  • Info-Tech’s PPM Current State Scorecard report
1.4

Perform right-wrong-confusing-missing analysis.

  • Right-wrong-confusing-missing analysis
1.5

Define target state for benefits management.

  • Stakeholder alignment around workshop goals and target state
1.6

Refine project levels.

  • Info-Tech’s Project Intake Classification Matrix

Module 2: Establish Benefits Legitimacy During Portfolio Intake

The Purpose

  • Establish organizationally specific benefit metrics and KPIs.
  • Develop clear roles and accountabilities for benefits management.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • An articulation of project benefits and measurements.
  • Clear checkpoints for benefits communication during the project are defined.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Map the current portfolio intake process.

2.2

Establish project sponsor responsibilities and accountabilities for benefits management.

  • Info-Tech’s Project Sponsor Role Description Template
2.3

Develop organizationally specific benefit metrics and KPIs.

  • Info-Tech’s Benefits Commitment Form Template
2.4

Integrate intake legitimacy into portfolio intake processes.

  • Intake legitimacy process flow and RASCI chart
  • Intake legitimacy SOP

Module 3: Maintain Benefits Legitimacy Throughout Project Planning and Execution

The Purpose

  • Develop a customized SOP for benefits management during project planning and execution.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Ensure that all changes to the project have been recorded and benefits have been updated in preparation for deployment.
  • Updated benefits expectations are included in the final sign-off package.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Map current project management process and audit project management documentation.

  • Customized project management toolkit
3.2

Identify appropriate benefits control points.

  • Info-Tech’s Project Benefits Documentation Workbook
3.3

Customize project management documentation to integrate benefits.

  • Deployment of legitimacy process flow and RASCI chart
3.4

Develop a deployment legitimacy process flow.

  • Deployment of legitimacy SOP

Module 4: Close the Deal on Project Benefits

The Purpose

  • Develop a post-project benefits realization process.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clear project sponsorship accountabilities for post-project benefits tracking and reporting.
  • A portfolio level benefits tracking tool for reporting on benefits attainment.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Identify appropriate benefits control points in the post-project process.

4.2

Configure Info-Tech’s Portfolio Benefits Tracking Tool.

  • Info-Tech’s Portfolio Benefits Tracking Tool
4.3

Define a post-project benefits reporting process.

  • Post-Project legitimacy process flow and RASCI chart
4.4

Formalize protocol for reporting on, and course correcting, benefit lags.

4.5

Develop a post-project legitimacy process flow.

  • Post-Project Legitimacy SOP
  • Info-Tech’s Benefits Legitimacy Handbook
  • Info-Tech’s Benefits Legitimacy Workflow Template