OK, you saved your receipts. You may be able to show what you spent it on. But can you really show what you got for it? Not just some shiny new SAP modules, or a fancy app, but what higher margins, market share, or tangible benefits can you prove?
Benefits realization has been a theme of mine for years: here, here, and here. In fact, I’d move it to #1 in the list I gave to Michael Krigsman about the threat marketing IT poses to the CIO. If your PMO or function can’t show that it delivers value, then how can you expect it to be a strategic player? PM College just created a new course on benefits realization and the subtitle says it all: how to create tangible value against your business case.
The biggest misconception about benefit and value management is that the process happens after the project. That approach simply does not work. You can’t decide after the project: “gee, we need to show the boss the benefits…let’s figure out how to collect, measure, and present them.” As the course description says:
Benefits are not just another dimension of portfolio management, but are the basic rationale for any investment of funds. As such, benefits should drive those investment or change decisions from initiation through implementation and beyond.
In other words, benefits realization has to embedded in the project plan from its very start…or you too will find yourself asking Hoyt Axton’s question: “Where did the money go?”