The most important part of benefits management is planning the benefits measurement stage. This involves completing the benefits management plan before project approval in a robust manner so that measurement of benefits after project implementation is easy and the plan to measure them is simple to follow.

The Benefits Management Plan template consists of two tabs. The first tab is “Benefits Realisation Plan” and the second tab is “Quantified Benefits”. The “Benefits Realisation Plan” tab is divided into two sections: soft and hard benefits.

1. Planning and Measuring Soft benefits

Benefit

This is a description of what the benefit is that we are trying to achieve. For example, an increase in communication within the team.

Owner

This is the person accountable for ensuring the benefit is tracked and measured after the project has been delivered. One of the biggest problems with benefits management is benefits being forgotten about and not being tracked after project delivery. We want to ensure there is a person accountable for driving the tracking of benefits.

Target

This is our estimate of what benefit we will achieve. For example, we expect team communication to increase by 10%.

Method of Measurement

Just because soft benefits are non quantifiable does not mean they cannot be measured. Here are some examples of ways of measuring soft benefits:

Some ways of measuring soft benefits include:

  • Surveying pools of people. For example if one of our benefits is an increase in team cohesiveness, we might want to survey a user group before implementation of the product, asking questions like “How well do you think your team works together?” “How often do you touch base with team members” “How many team members have you communicated with this week?”. After the product is implemented the same user group can be surveyed and the difference in scores used as a measure to determine whether the product was successful in delivering this benefit and whether we met our target or fell short.
  • Post-contract award briefings. If one of the benefits of the project is win more tender bids, we can ask the client for a post-tender award briefing and ask for specific information on what made us successful. If the delivered product is one of the reasons we can determine that the product was successful in delivering this benefit.

Responsibility for Measurement

This is the person that will actually be tracking and measuring the benefit once the project has been delivered. This is unlikely to be the same person as the benefit owner. It is important to consult with this person during the development of the benefits management plan to determine if the means of measuring is feasible, and to ensure buy-in from this person.

Business Unit, Business Sector and Site

This is the business unit, business sector and the site that will be the recipient of the benefit.

Timing of Measurement

This is the timing of when we are planning to track and measure the benefit. For example, we will survey three groups of 10 people in May, June and July of 2012.

2. Planning and Measuring Hard Benefits

Benefit

This is a description of what the benefit is that we are trying to achieve. For example, a decrease in licensing fees.

Owner

This is the person responsible for ensuring the benefit is tracked and measured after the project has been delivered. One of the biggest problems with benefits management is benefits being forgotten about and not being tracked after project delivery. We want to ensure there is a person accountable for driving the tracking of benefits.

Target

This is our estimate of what benefit we will achieve. An example is:

  • We are currently spending £7000 per year on licensing fees, new product will cost £3600 per year, resulting in a benefit of £3400 per year for licensing fees.

Method of Measurement

Because hard benefits are quantifiable, the method of measurement will usually be to obtain cost information from the finance department.

Responsibility for Measureme

This is the person that will actually be tracking and measuring the benefit once the project has been delivered. This is unlikely to be the same person as the benefit owner. It is important to consult with this person during the development of the benefits management plan to determine if the means of measuring is feasible, and to ensure buy-in from this person. This person could be a member of the finance department or could be someone responsible for obtaining the figures from the finance department.

Business Unit, Business Sector and Site

This is the business unit, business sector and the site that will be the recipient of the benefit.

Timing of Measurement

This is the timing of when we are planning to track and measure the benefit. This is very important for quantifiable benefits as the business needs to know when cost savings will be realised. A detailed benefits profile will be entered in the “Quantified Benefits” tab, and the timing should be derived from this. An example could be: We will consult with the finance department in May 2012, 2013 and 2014 to check licensing fee is now £3600 per year, resulting in realised benefit of £3400 in May 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Further Guidance

If you have any questions or need any assistance with planning your benefits or completing the benefits management plan, please contact the Project Journal team. We are here to help!