Benefits Realization

I have been asking a lot of technocrats around in various verticals on whether they have been successfully tracking benefits realization in one or other format and making sure that they are constantly aligned and in sync with the organizational objectives, the most I get is glares and a few cheeky answers as to how they don’t get any “added/extra” benefit! Benefits realization management, defined in Benefits Realization Management: A practice guide, “BRM encompasses the standard methods and processes that an organization uses for identifying benefits, executing its benefits realization plans, and sustaining the realized benefits facilitated by portfolio, program, and project initiatives. BRM requires alignment with an organization’s strategy, a solid understanding of key principles, and techniques”[1].

Benefits realization in most product companies start and end at the business case development & analysis. Companies venturing into the service sector though has a different outlook and do have artifacts related to every business deal negotiation that more or less identifies benefits to both the supplier and the consumer. Most of the benefits detailed out in multiple artifacts are direct and tangible benefits such as a reduction in cost incurred, OPEX normalization, increase in market share, capability improvement, etc. Again, as I find it, no formal measurements are ever done for these benefits realization.

For example, if a project overruns its allocated budget, it is simply allocated a bit more or warped into another bigger project. If a deadline seems to be not feasible, it is simply moved to the next feasible date! No clear benefit realization revisits happen. In certain cases where the organization itself is driving important projects to realize its own organizational goals, the delays in project timelines seem to be accounted for by pushing in more money and more people to achieve the desired outcome.

In general, what I personally feel is that BRM as a process is not at all followed in most product organizations. Benefits register is rarely maintained and benefits themselves are having little mention outside of the business case documents and project charters. What’s your view?

[1] – Project Management Institute (2019). Benefits realization management : a practice guide. Newtown Square, Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute, pp.7.