Magazine article PM Network

Longer-Lasting Measures

Magazine article PM Network

Longer-Lasting Measures

Article excerpt

The right way to track actual benefits realization.

In my last column, "Lasting Measures" PM Network, July 2012), I described the value and importance of measuring a project's actual benefits realizationwhether the benefits claimed match the benefits received. This month, I'd like to continue that discussion by addressing four key considerations related to methodologies and responsibilities.

1. WHAT BENEFITS SHOULD BE MEASURED AND TRACKED?

Project benefits should be clearly identified in a business case or similar project proposal documentation. So the answer to the question, "What should be measured?" is remarkably straightforward: whatever benefits were identified in the original project proposal.

In addition to measuring direct project benefits, however, organizations can evaluate other metrics that may be important to their ongoing operation or continuous improvement. For example, the differences between benefits projections and actual benefits realized could be used to improve forecasting techniques.

2. WHO SHOULDN'T- AND SHOULD-DO THE MEASURING?

Let's start with "Who shouldn't?" The correct answer seems pretty obvious, but many organizations violate this simple guideline: Any person or group with a vested interest in the success of a project should not conduct its evaluation. They are likely to suffer from a lack of objectivity when performing the evaluation.

Preferred candidates for measuring actual benefits realization are any person or group viewed as independent. A properly installed project office - one with no political affiliation and whose primary mission is to do what is best for the overall organization- would be an excellent choice.

3. WHEN SHOULD MEASUREMENTTAKE PLACE?

Every project is different with respect to when benefits actually will be realized. Some projects immediately see benefits upon project completion, such as headcount reduction. …

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