How projects can deliver organisational value

Robert Loader
February 10, 2011

Implementing benefits management

Implementing benefits management requires strong levels of support and infrastructure development over time to ensure the optimal benefits can be realised across the portfolio. These key principles underpin any effective benefits management system:

  • Creation of governance process and structures that bring together functional and project organisation staff to define and prioritise projects that will support the organisation goals;
  • Driving all project decisions through the business case with particular emphasis on benefits definition and strategic alignment;
  • Making the benefits management process an integrated component of the project method, including project selection, planning, risk management and performance management;
  • Providing clear accountability for project delivery and ensuring benefit realisation is shared with project delivery staff and business owners; and
  • Making benefit measurement visible at all levels of project and strategic delivery.

The PMO’s role and support for benefits realisation is optimised if it is structured along the lines of a single organisation-wide controlling body that has a significant role in project approval, prioritisation, and monitoring of delivery performance. The PMO’s focus should also be clearly articulated towards building process competency and consistency, promoting learning and re-use of best practice, and developing a strong governance model to support organisation project delivery, risk and benefits realisation to safeguard the investment of projects and maximise their returns.

As organisational demand for projects to realise strategic goals increases, so too does the need for those making project investment decisions to be able to measure the return on that investment. Benefits management is a discipline that enables quantification, ownership and performance review of project outcomes in business terms.

For benefits management to be effective it requires integration within the project method from project selection, through to execution and closure to operational handover. Benefits management ensures organisations focus on project outputs and delivering their value in terms of organisational goals. When linked to corporate reward systems the process ensures assignment of accountability to those parties charged with delivery of business value.

When expected project benefits are delivered there are winners all round including satisfied shareholders, happier customers and business partners, more fulfilled project teams and the organisation executive, which receives good returns on its investment. When projects don’t realise benefits, these same parties typically feel the brunt of failure. This emphasises why organisational project management success requires benefit realisation competence and why benefits management should be a core component of the enterprise project methods.

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Robert Loader
Robert Loader is the head of the Strategic Initiatives Office at insurance firm AIA Australia (
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