There are several reasons why an organisation might choose to take a systematic approach to benefits management. A methodical approach to benefits management can assist the project owner to clearly articulate the proposed problem or opportunity and achieve project outcomes. It can inform project investment decision-making and project design, and it can form the basis for articulating project success.
At the University of Melbourne, we have developed a Benefit Delivery Framework to capture strategic alignment of investments and embed benefit delivery into the processes and practices of investment funding, project delivery and operational activities. The framework was designed in line with good practice methodologies and we have incorporated learning from the experience of other organisations and refined the framework through a full annual cycle.
Articulating, planning & delivering benefits
In the first year of our journey, we developed the framework and standards for articulating, planning and delivering benefits:
- The standards for articulating benefits enable us to standardise benefit language and facilitate capture of critical data to inform investment and enterprise portfolio decision making.
- The standards for planning benefits support investment owners and project teams to understand what it will take to deliver the benefits, and it gets the right people in the room early so that they understand their responsibilities and the work involved in delivering the benefits.
- The standards for delivering benefits inform the organisation of benefit delivery at the enterprise and investment level and support investment owners to remove obstacles in the way of benefit delivery.
Investment proposals lacking sufficient detail
Prior to the framework being in place, investment proposals described benefits but lacked sufficient detail to plan for and support benefit delivery. We found that without a formal benefits realisation framework in place it was challenging to identify, measure and monitor benefits. There was a clear need to commence systematic benefit realisation and assure that projects being undertaken are sound investments.
We now have a framework that supports the development of benefit management plans that are comprehensive, measurable and regularly updated throughout the life of the project. We can conduct benefits and post-implementation reviews according to planned timelines, and we have the mechanism to routinely incorporate learnings and circulate them to key governance bodies.
The University of Melbourne’s Benefit Delivery Framework creates an early, open, and shared understanding of the benefits of an investment. High quality benefit data can now be aggregated at the enterprise level and used strategically to inform investment decision making and support organisational learning.
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