Why it should be called ‘benefits realisation’
What we call things really matters and here is why:
Over the past decade the topic of benefits realisation has emerged and is gaining much interest. In some circles it is being referred to as benefits management. We do not agree with this and here’s why.
The goal of the concept is to provide real focus on, and visibility of the actual realisation of the planned benefits in any business change, throughout the change cycle. The goal is not (just) to wrap a management process (consisting of templates, reports, maybe even graphs etc) around this task. That by itself achieves very little. Therefore, the name is actually very important.
The goal is to realise not to simply manage benefits:
This may appear to be playing with words, however, we believe there are important reasons why it is not. In many circles engaged in business projects, project management is seen to be the implementation of the management process itself – not necessarily the delivery of a successful project. The way messages are framed (delivered) and received (interpreted) by people around all of these topics is hugely important and can be a great driver of success or otherwise.
Additionally, too often there is no structure or focus once projects are delivered. Benefits realisation looks to reverse this by introducing structure and discipline to the post project delivery phase of the change cycle – hence the name.
Finally, and not least of all, we should measure ourselves against the goal of the process, not whether we have implemented the ‘right’ management tools around the process.