Over in our Facebook group I asked what templates people would like me to create and Denise said a simple benefits management plan.
Benefits management can be really confusing. Is it the job of the project manager? Does it fall to the business owner? How are we all supposed to work together to get the benefit?
My thoughts are:
- Benefits should be documented in the business case.
- The project manager’s job is to make sure the business can achieve the benefits by delivering the enablers and business change required including a way of tracking benefits e.g. new reports etc
- The business owner is responsible for tracking benefits after the project has closed, accountable to their line management structure i.e. for making sure people use whatever was delivered for them to the best of their ability to get the benefits.
- Only track benefits for a short period after the project. Consider when a “benefit” becomes “just the way we do business round here”. You can’t seriously track product sales as a benefit 5 years after the product was launched. At some point, benefits turn into normal expectations. This is probably in the next financial year after the benefit starts taking effect – track it until the end of the financial year, and then the new improved position becomes part of the baseline expectations for next year.
Things are a bit different in a programme, where projects may start to deliver benefits before the programme is completed. The programme team may take on benefits tracking too, while the programme is running.
To help with all this, I’ve created a simple benefits management plan template.
What is a Benefits Management Plan?
A benefits management plan is a document that sets out:
- what benefits you can expect from the project
- who owns them
- how you measure them
- what is required to achieve them.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require you to spend some time thinking about what a benefit is and how it is going to be achieved.
The Slideshare below has some helpful thoughts on drawing that information from the business case.
Ultimately, the information on project benefits should come from the business case, but it’s not always that straightforward – in real life some projects get started without having a business case!
If that sounds like your workplace, then you can still get some value from your projects – you just need to wrap the thinking about benefits into the work you are doing.
How to Use the Benefits Management Plan Template [Word version]
The template is in the project management resource library. If you already get my regular newsletter, you’ll find the password for the resource library at the bottom.
If you don’t yet have access, sign up below. Once you’ve got the password, you will find all the templates, including the benefits management plan template (which is a Word .docx) on the secret page.
Download the template.
Change the logo to your company logo (or none).
Update the headers and footers to be what you want them to say.
Fill in the content, using the benefits realisation examples I’ve included in the template as a guide for what to say.
Delete my example benefit and the notes – they are for your benefit only, so no need to keep them in. I am a big believer in making documents as short as possible, so delete what you don’t need!
Share the document with your team, and then manage your benefits according to your plan.