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A summery of Benefit Realization Management

Today is the final day of the “Strategies, Benefits and Alignment” course. I can’t believe that almost two months have past since the program introduction and the initial lecture. As I stated in my previous blog post I will try to summarize the essence of the two books “The standard for Portfolio Management” and “Benefit Realization Management – A practical guide” in the two final blog posts of the course. Today, it’s time for “Benefit Realization Management – A practical guide”.

What is Benefit Realization Management
Benefit Realization Management (BRM) is a framework, developed by PMI, that aim to provides organizations a way to measure how portfolios, programs and project deliverer value to the organization. Business strategy is fundamental to BRM as it utilizes a holistic approach to derive, plan, manage and track the identified benefits, beyond the scope of a particular portfolio, program or project.

BRM is constituted by three phases: identify, execute and sustain. During the identify phase, senior management identify the benefits to be pursued by the organization and determine whether a portfolio, program or project could produce the intended business result. During the execute stage, portfolio managers, program managers and project managers plan and execute activates to achieve the requested outputs that realize the identified benefit. The goal of this stage is to maximize the opportunity of benefits being realized while minimizing the risk of future benefit being forfeit. The last phase, sustain, is where plans and activities are executed to sustain the values obtained if or when the current conditions (market, strategy, legislations etc.) change.

Core principals
PMI have identified five core principles of BRM: net benefits justify the use of invested resources; commencement of work is driven by benefits identification; planned benefits are identified in authorizing documents; benefits realization is holistically planned and managed; and governance and adequate resources are essential to BRM success. When applied, these core principals align and structure the work of the organization to ensure that the organization strive towards the right set of goals and resources are well spent.

Benefit tracking
BRM emphasizes on benefit tracking as a critical success enabler. In order to monitor the identified benefits throughout their lifecycle, identified benefits needs to be organized, categories and assigned to the different initiatives of the organization. Tools, such a benefit register, a benefit map or a benefit traceability matrix could constitutes a charter of authorized benefits and visualize the plan of how they will be achieved. This will also help senior management to illustrate how changes of strategy or priorities affect the overall benefit realization plan.

Culture
BRM emphasize on building the right culture with clear roles and responsibilities. To enable the successful implementation of BRM a culture that embrace changes must be established and where executives, initiative leaders, suppliers, individual contributors, and stakeholders are able to easily identify the intended outcome of each initiative; not just the deliverables. Some might even argue that the definitions of project success must be redefined within organizations implementing BRM.

According to me, these are the foundations to begin your implementation of benefit realization management. However, there are more subjects and several critical success enablers that should be considered. Please read the full book for further details.

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Building the right culture

Today is Saturday and I’m happy to say that the written assignment is more or less complete. Throughout the course I’ve had a few topics that keep on coming back in my mind. Today, I’ve been thinking about organizational culture and it’s connection to the successful delivery upon goals. I’ve already written a post about the importance of a clear, unambiguous vision and mission statement but this does not guarantee a successful culture change.

To be honest, I’m not sure how this culture is built but I’m pretty sure it’s best performed using dialog, not documents, and local resources acting as role models for the organization. In my literature review for the written assignment I find it pleasing that the value driven culture is given such focus in the books, papers and frameworks I’ve studied. The BRM framework is said to echo the organization’s value-oriented mindset, ITIL focuses on value from a customer perspective, papers have suggested that companies need to redefine what a project success means in order to secure organizational benefits rather then the fulfilment of a particular benefit.

Got any idea on how to build this culture? Please let me know!

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Quote of the week

I think culture change is just a mandatory requirement in the digital era, and by the way, it’s also not a one-time change, you have to keep reinventing yourself and keep making those cultural changes over and over again, because our customer expectations change very quickly, our employee expectations change very quickly, so it’s a non-stop era.

This quote was stated by Anand Swaminathan on the PMI podcast Projectified™, published on the 7th of February 2018. I believe that without a culture that embrace changes within your organization, you won’t survive long in the digital era.

But how do we implement this culture? Culture (not behavior) is one of the hardest things to change in general since it’s deeply rooted in people’s personalities — some people have a natural resistance to change!

Got any suggestions, any related articles or an HR-perspective on this? Please leave a comment!