New Findings: Organizations with High Benefits Realization Management Maturity Have 50% Edge in Goal Attainment


Organizations that invest in benefits realization management approach it as a discipline and achieve quantifiable gains as a result. According to findings from the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2016 Pulse of the Profession® In-Depth Report Beyond the Project: Sustain Benefits to Optimize Business Value, few organizations report a high degree of benefits realization maturity, but those that do see an average of 50% more projects meeting original goals and business intent. The findings point to actions every organization can take to sustain benefits once a project has been moved into ongoing operations.

“Organizations are leaving their strategy to chance if they don’t focus on benefits realization management as a central part of project and program management,” said PMI President and CEO Mark A. Langley. “All strategic change happens through projects and programs, so making sure that a project’s benefits are sustainable is crucial to making a strategic initiative succeed over the long term.”

Based on the findings from Beyond the Project: Sustain Benefits to Optimize Business Value, the third in PMI’s series on benefits realization maturity, there are three recommended actions that organizations should take:

  • Invest in benefits realization management — it’s worth the effort. Organizations with high benefits realization management maturity invest in the discipline and establish its value organization-wide. They build a strong foundation of tools, resources, and cross-functional teaming to achieve and sustain benefits. They also target benefits that align with strategic goals and monitor and measure progress against the benefits during project execution and beyond.

    These organizations waste significantly less money due to poor performance; specifically, US$112 million less for every US$1 billion invested in projects and programs. They also achieve better project performance and realize expected benefits at higher rates. On average, 50% more of their projects meet original goals and business intent.
  • Stay focused on benefits beyond the project—it’s essential. Organizations that commit to the transition and sustainment activities highlighted in PMI’s latest benefits realization management report perform better. The activities drive a measurable impact by maintaining a benefits focus from project inception to close.

    Organizations that commit to carrying out these activities exhibit higher benefits realization management maturity than other organizations and see 69% more projects meeting or exceeding forecasted ROI.
  • Communicate cross-functionally—it’s vital to success. High benefits realization management maturity organizations sustain benefits over time by establishing clear communication and encouraging robust dialogue among project managers, project teams, business owners, and executive sponsors and other leaders. These organizations also establish a benefits-driven culture.

    Among organizations with more mature benefits realization management practices, 92% make project teams aware of the success or failure of benefits after the project ends and 77% make their project teams aware of unanticipated benefits that have been realized.

“The importance of these transition and benefits sustainment activities are confirmed by organizations that are committed to benefits realization management,” noted Langley. “According to one of the executives mentioned in the report, these activities help her project teams get a seat at the table with the decision maker and avoid being perceived as order takers.”

Beyond the Project: Sustain Benefits to Optimize Business Value also underscores the important role of the enterprise-wide PMO (EPMO) in this areas. As organizations mature their project, program, and portfolio management practices to better align work with strategic goals and realize value from investments, the EPMO has many opportunities to be a leading voice in advancing critical board-level topics, such as value management.Read about the activities and the value of benefits realization management in this report on

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MaryKate Dougherty
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