Introduction

Benefits realization management (BRM) covers day to day organization and control of the effort to achieve and sustain potential benefits arising from investment in programs, portfolios, and programs. The portfolio is a collection of projects, programs, subsidiary portfolios and operations managed as a group to achieve the strategic objective. The program involves related projects, subsidiary programs and program activities executed in a coordinated manner to realize benefits difficult to obtain individually. The project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.

BRM is a continuous process as the organization learns by undertaking the task then improve their performance with time. A benefit is a gain realized by the organization and beneficiaries through portfolio, program or project outputs and resulting outcomes. Value is the difference between the cost of the benefits from the costs of the project.

Importance of benefits register

Organizations struggle to implement the strategies they need to generate and sustain a competitive advantage due to dynamic approach. There is a need to ensure that investment in portfolios, programs, and projects leads to potential benefits but the common challenge is the appropriate tracking of the planned to the actual realization of benefits. Proper benefit register helps to correct this strategy misalignment by aligning portfolios, programs, and projects to the organization strategy.

With less capital and need to capture the most viable project then there is need to develop a benefits realization management to help the project managers to choose the most feasible plan that can give maximum benefits from the investment made. Benefits register helps to analyze the possible projects, portfolios, and projects with the future profits from the investment then determine the action to be done, and this helps reduce wastage of resources as benefits register helps to choose the most viable project that can realize the benefits sought. BRM serves to close the gap between strategic planning and execution b ensuring the implementation of the most valuable initiative.

Benefits register helps to create visibility and broad scope of view regarding strategy, and it highlights the deviation between project output and planned outcomes. This insight provides benefits owners the opportunity to make corrections to realize the intended production. BRM can ensure executives make decisions to support those projects and programs that directly link to the strategy and this can be through reinforcing accountabilities throughout the associated portfolios, programs and projects and by serving as role models for positive BRM models. This initiative aids the transition to operations that can deliver more value to the organization.

Benefits register provides a clear competition landscape to the organization by analyzing the various factors that exist, and this helps the organization to undertake feasibility studies of the program, portfolio, and project that can be conducted to realize maximum value from the cost of the investment. BRM will thus help the project manager to decide the ways to undertake and prepare the different ways to tackle the various challenges that can be encountered to realize he planned benefits.

BRM provides a clear view of how the organization plans to address benefits management by providing a documented explanation of the organization’s scheduled activities, timeframe and a criterion for achieving one or more planned benefits. This strategy helps to align together planned benefits to the organizational objectives and associated portfolio, program or project, therefore, provides a clear pathway of achieving the intended benefits. It also brings together tools that can be used to obtain benefits.

Development

Benefits realization involves developing strategies that include organization goals, mission, and vision to guide their day to day operations. The goals are then decomposed to strategic objectives to deliver outputs which result in outcomes. The outcomes yield planned benefits that ultimately produce the intended value sought by the organization.

Often there is a set of governance and management practices needed to define, develop, deliver and sustain planned benefits derived from the outputs of portfolios, programs, and projects. There is a set of guidelines to follow from the development of a project idea to the realization of the benefits of the project idea. BRM mainly involves three mains stages namely:

  • Identify stage

This stage is for benefits idea generation. Ideas for benefits come from various sources including strategic planning workshops, annual budgeting planning, updates of benefits mapping and stakeholder insight. Benefits idea generation is followed by the qualification and quantification which involves estimating the scale of benefits achievable from the different interests through a portfolio of programs and projects. A designated individual or group of individuals evaluate and propose potential work and each benefit should include a benefits realization plan. The business case and the benefits realization plan are authorized then a charter initiates the appropriate portfolio, program and project work. The assigned benefit owner takes full leadership responsibility.

  • Execute stage

Technical and management planning begins at this stage to create outputs from the implemented portfolios, programs, and benefits to realize planned benefits. Each team is informed of the importance of its output to achieving the benefits needed and this is by informing each key stakeholder of the planned benefits. The benefit owner coordinates with the portfolio, program and project managers to ensure beneficiaries are appropriately engaged and briefed to realize planned benefits and this involves analyzing the risks and key performance indicators for stable delivery of benefits, recording progress and informing stakeholders of the progress and appropriate communication and stakeholder engagement processes.

  • Sustain stage

This stage focuses on the acceptance and use of the outputs to create outcomes that lead to the realization of benefits. It ensures the continuation of results and benefits achieved through program, portfolio and project outputs. This stage involves mainly beneficial owners and business analysts. This stage to checks whether the planned benefits have been realized or requires some adjustment. The projected benefits met should be sustained, and this is through facilitating continuous improvement through ongoing knowledge sharing regarding the benefits contribution to organizational success. In case the intended benefit has not been met then there is a need to modify the benefit or substitute.

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