Don’t forget about the intangibles…

Good reminder at PMThink about including intangible benefits in the business case (here).  It is a short but spot-on post.

The trick is to re-visit them periodically to make these benefits tangible.  Often what makes benefits intangible that they’re hard to measure — e.g., the data may not be available until the deliverables themselves are created. 

A listed intangible benefit should include its proposed measures in the original business case, so that one knows what/how/when to measure one the deliverable starts generating outcomes (and hopefully benefits).


5 Responses

  1. You know, I’m not so much a fan of putting intangile benefits into the business case.

    Into the presentation and discussions yes. Into the document, not really.

    How do you go about measuring them?

  2. Hi Craig,
    Thanks for the reply. I’ll probably post this on its own as well.

    Four comments:
    1.) Intangibles should indeed be considered “lesser” benefits. We suggest keeping the intangibles separate from tangibles and weighted differently than tangible benefits.

    2.) Business cases are heavily dependent on company culture — e.g., finance-driven companies. If intangible benefits aren’t appropriate, don’t include them.

    3.) If you’re going to put them into presentations and discussions, then they should be in the business case itself (and if they’re not in the business case, they shouldn’t be in presentations). My experience is that this approach causes huge expectations issues.

    4.) Per the original post, sometimes we mistake intangible for hard-to-measure. If one can’t figure out how to measure them by the time one finishes the main set of requirements, perhaps it is time to remove the intangible or further discount it.

    As you suggest, if there is not even a theorhetical measure available, is the benefit intangible or imaginary?

    Thanks again and best,

  3. […] 2008 by Paul Ritchie Craig challenged the inclusion of intangible benefits in a business case (here).  I replied to his comments, but I thought I’d convert it to a post.  Craig commented: You […]

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  5. […] will be particularly interested in the attention paid to intangible benefits (Crossderry posts here, here, and here) in the study, which Kelley Hunsberger highlighted […]

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