How to Use Benefit Realization as a Measure of Project Success   

How to use Benefit Realization as a Measure of Project Success

What makes a successful project?  

The stock standard answer will be that a project can be deemed successful if it’s completed On Time, In Budget, and Within Scope. But anyone that has ever worked on a project knows that this view of project success is a highly simplified view.  

Expanding how project success is measured, provides the Project Owner, Project Manager, and Delivery Team with a better way of ensuring that their efforts are focused on long-term success. Projects should not be viewed in isolation and Project Managers and Project Owners should view the project from how it fits in with the larger organizational strategy and then look beyond the project closure date to determine how and when the planned benefits are realized.  

In this post, we’ll be looking at Benefit Realization as a way of measuring project success. 

What is Benefit Realization Management? 

One method of determining project success is to take a longer-term view of what is going to happen with the project’s solution after the implementation team steps away, the project is closed, and the solution has been handed over to the client. 

Benefit Realization Management Defined: 

A collective set of processes and practices for identifying benefits and aligning them with formal strategy, ensuring benefits are realized as project implementation progresses and finishes and that the benefits are sustainable—and sustained—after project implementation is complete. 

– Project Management Institute (PMI) – 

Benefit Realization Management (BRM) needs Project Managers to work closely with the Project Sponsor even prior to project kick-off to ensure that the project scope is aligned with the client’s organizational strategy. It provides a great opportunity for Project Managers to create a closer relationship with the Project Sponsor as both parties develop a sense of working towards a common goal.  

What inputs are needed for a Benefit Realization Plan? 

Even though a Project Manager may step away from a project once it is closed and signed off, they can assist the client to set up measures for project success using BRM. However, this requires some pre-requisites, and at a minimum the following needs to be known and understood between the Project Manager and client: 

1 – A Business Case that confirms the necessity and feasibility of the solution to be implemented, and what the planned benefits are. 

2- Solution objectives that define the results that need to be achieved will help identify the metrics that will be used to measure the benefits realized. 

How do you create a Benefit Realization Plan? 

The Project Management Institute proposes a 3-step Framework to help organizations effectively manage and realize project benefits. The following provides some ideas for good practices that Project Managers can use to create a BRM Plan with the client Project Sponsor.  


Why use Benefit Realization Management? 

Even though the project team may not be around to see the fruits of their labor, and sometimes benefits are only realized months or longer beyond solution delivery, the value the team has provided to the client could open doors to new opportunities.  

Having a visible Business Realization Plan will give the delivery team a greater sense of purpose as team members will be aware that their efforts are part of a bigger picture. By being cognizant of the potential strategic value, team members could be allowed the opportunity to provide ideas and suggestions for greater improvements of the work in progress so that benefits have a great opportunity of being achieved. 

The Mint PMO 

The Project Management team at Mint UK endeavors to build close relationships with our clients and remains aware that a project is usually part of a bigger picture. Our Mint Project Governance Framework helps us identify benefits to be realized and support our clients through their journey to achieving them.  

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