According to findings from the Project Management Institute’s 2016 Pulse of the Profession® In-Depth Report - Delivering Value: Focus on Benefits During Project Execution, many organizations are not yet mature with their benefits realization practices, which exposes them to increased risk. However, the report also finds that organizations that invest in benefits realization identify a significant role for project managers, especially during project execution.
This report builds upon previous research findings that organizations that adopt a mature approach to managing benefits waste 67% less ($112 million) for every $1 billion invested in projects and programs, compared to those that do not take a mature approach.
The new report reveals that project managers in organizations with mature benefits realization practices largely focus on monitoring expected benefits and communicating key indicators to business and leadership. The percentage of respondents for each role indicates the most common activities:
- Revisiting expected benefits (46%)
- Communicating with business owners and keeping them informed about benefits-related issues (63%)
- Ensuring project benefits stay aligned to the organization’s strategic objectives (38%)
“PMI’s research confirms the important role that project managers play in closing the gap between expectation and achievement when it comes to benefits realization," said PMI President and CEO Mark A. Langley. "Our discussions with project managers and senior executives tell us that this role is especially important during the execution phase, when projects can be derailed by everything from shifts in the business to resource challenges to unexpected changes outside the enterprise."
The report also identifies practical steps that organizations can take to help them more fully achieve the expected benefits from their investments. According to its findings, organizations that realize benefits more fully engage cross-functional teams. The makeup of these teams may differ but a common thread across the organizations in the study is the close working relationship between the business owner and the project manager. The top team dynamics that ensure benefits realization are project manager expertise (22%), business owner involvement (22%) and executive management involvement (20%).
Organizations that successfully deliver on strategy also ensure that they have the right tools and processes in place to monitor and measure benefits. The research indicates that organizations with a fully prescribed process for reporting benefits realization report an average of 38 percent more projects that meet or exceed forecasted ROI. Those that have fully standardized documentation for reporting benefits realization metrics report an average of 19 percent more projects that meet or exceed forecasted ROI and those that fully receive information about project performance against identified metrics report an average of 28 percent more projects that meet or exceed forecasted ROI.
PMI’s Pulse of the Profession® research on benefits during project execution was conducted in April 2016 with project management practitioners around the world who provide project, program, or portfolio management services on a full-time basis within their organizations. Additional in-depth interviews were conducted with senior executives to gain deeper insight into how various roles and responsibilities align with benefits realization management during project execution.