A benefits management plan is designed to explain the different benefits of any project area and, perhaps more importantly, how and when they might be delivered. This is done through the inclusion of the following:
- Describing the benefit in question
- Making a schedule of the timeframe for the delivery of the benefit
- Identifying who the owner of the benefit is
- Defining the metrics that are used to measure the benefits and what the baseline for the benefit will be
- Listing the risks and assumptions that need to be considered in order to achieve the benefit
A benefits management plan will look at the two types of benefits, both tangible and intangible. Tangible benefits are those that are measured, such as cost reduction, whilst intangible benefits cannot be measured with any particular accuracy. These can include brand awareness, as one example.
A benefits management plan is informed by the business case, and details the benefits of a project. The plan will need to have a baseline in order for the benefits to be measured as the project is undertaken.
Once a benefits management plan has been created, it should be reviewed regularly throughout the project lifecycle. This will help to ensure that the plan is on track. Some of the benefits on the plan are not deliverable until the project is complete, and for these, the responsibility for keeping track of them lies with the benefits owner.
A benefits management plan needs to identify, monitor and then track any benefits over the life cycle of a project and often following the completion of the project. This is used to ensure that the organisation, as well as the benefit owners, those individuals who are the main beneficiaries, remain focused on the benefits for the duration of the process.
In order to create most benefits management plans, the following steps are common:
- Identify the benefits – consider what the beneficial outcomes of the project might be to the organisation as a whole and also the project stakeholders. This should be done before the project begins.
- Create a plan – this plan will need to realise the benefits. It should include any risks, assumptions and those tasks that will be required to reach the potential benefits of the plan.
- Every benefit will require a metric which will measure its outcome in order to track it. This will ensure that as the project progresses, it is being executed to align with the plan.
- The roles and responsibilities of those who will be managing the benefits will need to be defined.
- Add a plan that will look after the benefits and will do so once the project has been completed.
- Create a reporting plan in order to communicate the status of the plan to the stakeholders.
- Implement the plan.
Finally, evaluate how the project has performed once it has closed in order to sustain any benefits following the implementation of the project.