The Self Evident Truths of Project Management: Truth #1 - We Do Projects to Realise the Associated Benefits

Self Evident Truth #1: We do projects to realise the associated benefits

Benefits realisation is not peripheral or consequential to projects but central. Benefits realisation should not, therefore, be ‘hoped for’ or ‘someone else’s responsibility’ but the main focus and intent of all projects.

We do projects to move from our current state to some future state because we believe that this future state will be more beneficial than the status quo (ie doing nothing). “More beneficial” can be lower cost, increased revenue, more compliant, more competitive, or whatever.

However, if we don’t get these benefits, we’re worse off. We’ve incurred the time, effort and cost (and distraction) of the project without the payoff -- the benefits. All pain, no (or insufficient) gain.

Benefits management is not, therefore, ‘extra work’ but replaces project management as the overall driving force and success measure.

The business case needs to move from being a means to justify the cost and get funding to being the statement of the project’s ‘value proposition’ that the project then goes on to deliver. The ‘cost’ is then only one of the resources required to deliver the value.

We need to shift our perspective from ‘delivering projects’ to ‘realising benefits’. We need to view each and every aspect of the project through the ‘benefits and value lens’. Not because this is an advanced or ‘better’ way of approaching projects, but because that why we do projects.

Let’s put ‘benefits realisation’ centre-stage. Then we’ll start consistently delivering real value. Now there’s an idea!

Further support and useful tools to help you manage your investments, projects and portfolio are available from

For previous series of project management articles by Jed Simms visit How Do You Know if Your PMO is Successful and quot;PMO: What’s In A Name?quot;.

Jed Simms is CIO magazine's project management columnist. Simms, founder of projects and benefits delivery research firm Capability Management, is also the developer of specialised project management and project governance Web site

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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