What is Benefits Realization Management?

Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

There is more to a project then just getting it done. The project should also produce something beneficial. In this lesson we will learn how a company understands and realizes those benefits.

A First Look at Benefits realization

Imagine that you just lead your first big project for your company. The project goes flawlessly. You finish by the deadline, you come in under budget, and the customer is ecstatic! The project could not be more of a success. But even though you should feel proud for your accomplishments, you are a bit bothered by one thing. You see, you can't help but wonder why you completed the project in the first place. What was the point of the project? What real benefits did the project produce? What you are struggling with is the concept of benefits realization which is a way to measure changing the way someone thinks and works so that they reap the benefits of a project or program.

Benefits Realization Defined

While completing a project is great, but if the project is never really used, appreciated, and implemented, the benefits will never be realized. Benefits realization is the concept of changing how to act, think and manage so that the benefits from completing projects is actually received. The benefits from the projects can't actually be received however until the project is implemented and an outcome is delivered. After all, the whole reason for completing a project is to get some sort of outcome, and if that outcome is not realized, then the project failed to reap any benefits. Thus, benefits realization is about seeing a project all the way through the completion and the implementation so that it produces benefits that can be appreciated.

Benefits Realization Management

So, who is in charge of making sure the benefits are realized? Well, oftentimes the project manager is responsible for making sure the customer gets to appreciate the benefits. Sometimes it is other individuals in management that play a role. Whomever the role is assigned to, they have the task of making sure that the customer not only gets the project but also the benefits. This means creating a close relationship with the customer so that the project is implemented within their organization. Often times this means being willing to demonstrate the project and present it to the customer. Offering training and helping with the launching of the project is another task. And, helping with any problems that are encountered, and being a leader to helping bring on change through the implementation of the project.

Developing a Plan

Where should a company begin when making sure benefits are realized? Often times they should start with a plan. Because many benefits are not actually realized immediately and take time to develop it is important that individuals are appointed to manage the benefits so that the full benefit from the change is achieved. It is also important to understand that some resistance may occur and managing that resistance is crucial to gaining full benefits. Below are some steps to take to implement a plan so that it becomes a baseline in order to optimize benefits and reduce the risk of failure.

1. Assign tasks- Change is difficult to accept and implement. In order to make changes, assigning tasks helps ensure that each benefit is realized and everyone knows their role in gaining benefits.

2. Understand and classify benefits-How can someone identify a benefit if they do not know what the benefits are. This means the benefits need to be identified and explained.

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