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Project Manager : Project Manager Apr May 2013
14 Project Manager Tracking benefits The value of tracking project benefits post-completion has caught the attention of organisations across all sectors. But how do project managers fit in? CLAIRE CHAFFEY IN A RECENT DISCUSSION ON THE AIPM LinkedIn Group, project managers appeared to be divided on the issue of tracking benefits once a project has been completed. The discussion fell into two distinct categories: those who saw the value of tracking benefits but didn't actually do it in practice, and those who were frustrated by the lack of understanding about the value of tracking benefits. The issue of monitoring benefits realisation -- or the successful investment of time and resources into achieving the desired outcomes of an organisation -- is garnering more interest in the project management world, both because of what it can offer organisations that do it well, and what it can mean for those that don't. Why bother? While tracking benefits might seem like a relatively simple concept, many businesses are still failing to do it well -- or at all -- which begs the question: why are the projects being completed at all? "If you are not realising the benefits of the work you have set out to achieve, why do it?" asks Living Planit's Managing Director and AIPM Life Fellow Lesley Bentley. "You would have to question why someone would not be trying to understand whether or not they have reached their goals." Stewart Munro, Manager, Benefits & Change Manager, Clean Energy Regulator, says one of the key reasons organisations should be tracking benefits is to ensure alignment of strategic investment and allocation of funding for future projects, particularly in the public sector. "In Government ...there are strong governance arrangements and formal reporting processes and standards that need to be adhered to," he says. "With these more formal structures, a benefits management discipline and the tracking activities enable executive communication on the progress of achieving strategic goals." Something Bentley sees as particularly important is the tracking of benefits by businesses that are renewing, innovating or changing tack. "Unfortunately, a lot of projects that are commenced under portfolio programs really need to be stopped," she says. "Organisations change priorities, maybe because things have changed overseas or there's a global financial crisis. So how do you know which projects to stop if you're not tracking them?" If organisations keep doing unnecessary or outdated work, she adds, the result is often more work than staff can handle -- and benefits can be lost. "They are kick-starting new work without having finished old work," she says. "Benefits aren't even realised from the existing programs, let alone the new ones." Public versus private While government bodies have historically been more vigilant about tracking benefits than the private sector, Brenton Scroop at Evolution Projects Risk and Strategy says difficult economic conditions mean it's just as important for the private sector as it is for the public sector. "In the past, it would be fair to say that the government applied a greater level of due diligence in achieving and tracking project outcomes. "But in these times, where it's tougher economically and shareholder expectations YOU WOULD HAVE TO QUESTION WHY SOMEONE WOULD NOT BE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAVE REACHED THEIR GOALS
Project Manager Feb Mar 2013
Project Manager June July 2013