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A separate benefits management plan (as opposed to a benefits section in the scope management plan) will often be required where there are multiple benefits, significant change and the relationships between outputs and benefits are more complex, i.e. a benefits management plan is usually appropriate where the work is managed as a programme rather than a project.
The introduction will describe the background to the work and make it clear how this document relates to other relevant documents, such as a scope management plan or policies of the host organisation, parent programme or portfolio.
- Roles and responsibilities
Responsibility for benefits management lies primarily with the business areas that have to realise the benefits through outputs and change. The people who represent these business areas on the project or programme management team are called business change managers. Project and programme managers have responsibility for co-ordinating their outputs with the business change managers’ change activities and the sponsor has overall responsibility for achieving the benefits in the business case.
This section of the management plan must clearly describe these roles and their responsibilities for benefits management. It will also show paths of escalation and communication within the P3 organisation structure.
- Information management
The composition and format of benefits documents (such as benefit profiles) will be defined here.
Any required progress reports should be described together with their purpose, timing and intended recipients.
The costs of achieving benefits include the cost of developing the outputs and the cost of implementing change in business as usual.
The former is typically easier to quantify as it is the budget for the project producing the relevant output. The latter can often be hidden and harder to attribute. This section must make it clear how benefit costs will be accounted for, how budgets will be set and where the figures are located.
The achievement of benefits is the fundamental reason for investing in projects and programmes. They are, amongst other things, impacted by stakeholders, affected by risk and dependent upon schedule.
How the interfaces and cross-references between individual benefits and other aspects of the project or programme should be defined in this section.
This section will set out the methods and techniques to be used in quantifying benefits. Guidance should be particularly thorough in areas where quantification is more difficult.
This section of the management plan must set out the rules that will be used to value the benefits. Historically many projects and programmes have been approved on the basis of overoptimistic valuations of benefits and/or undervaluation of dis-benefits. This section is therefore central to the success of the business case.
The methods for allocating costs to benefits, especially where multiple outputs and multiple benefits have complex inter-relationships, may also be defined here.
- Plan benefits realisation
This section will set out how the benefits realisation work will be co-ordinated with the delivery of outputs; how communications will be maintained and how the organisation should prepare for change.
The first step in realising benefits is to measure the ‘before-state’. This section should define the performance indicators that will be used to measure the before-state. The same parameters will be used to measure the end-state to confirm whether the stated value of benefits has been achieved. The timing of these measurements and any interim measurements should be defined here.
- Realise benefits On complex programmes this section will be expanded and may be supplemented with a separate change management plan.
This section should explain how the transition will be managed. This will include the approach to co-ordinating output delivery with organisational change activities and the preferred approaches for change management.