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Podcast: APM PPQ: 5. Deliver the intended benefits of a project.

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 31st January 2024

Introduction

The podcast featuring Paul Naybour and Tom O’Shea offers a comprehensive exploration of benefits management within project governance. The dialogue, rooted in the context of the APM’s PPQ qualification, addresses the complexities and nuances of ensuring that projects not only meet their immediate goals but also contribute meaningfully to an organisation’s strategic objectives.

Understanding Benefits Management

Benefits management, as Naybour and O’Shea suggest, is often an overlooked aspect of project management, especially for roles that perceive it as outside their immediate responsibilities. The podcast opens with a discussion on the general perception and challenges associated with benefits management, setting the stage for a deeper exploration.

Importance of Measurable and Meaningful Benefits

One of the primary topics discussed is the necessity of ensuring that benefits are measurable, meaningful, and aligned with an organisation’s strategic objectives. The speakers highlight the pitfall of projects that are executed without a clear understanding of the intended benefits. The lack of measurability and alignment with strategic goals can lead to projects that, while successful in execution, fail to deliver real value to the organisation and its stakeholders.

Developing a Benefits Management Strategy

A significant portion of the conversation is dedicated to the development of a benefits management strategy. Naybour and O’Shea emphasise the need for a structured approach that records priorities, timescales, and responsibilities. This strategy acts as a blueprint, guiding project managers and teams in understanding not just the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of project execution, but the ‘why’ in terms of the benefits anticipated.

Prioritising Benefits

The discussion then moves to the importance of prioritising benefits based on their level of contribution to an organisation’s strategic objective. The speakers note that not all benefits are equal, and prioritising them effectively ensures that resources are allocated efficiently and that the most impactful benefits are realised first.

Creating a Benefits Realisation Plan

Creating a benefits realisation plan is another critical aspect covered. Naybour and O’Shea delve into the practicalities of this process, including funding, tracking, monitoring, and scheduling. They stress that this plan is not just a post-project activity but needs to be integrated throughout the project lifecycle.

Maximising Achievement of Planned Benefits

The podcast also addresses ways to maximise the achievement of planned benefits. The speakers discuss integrating the philosophy of benefits into the project management process, ensuring that every decision and change is evaluated in terms of its potential to enhance benefits.

The Role of Project Managers in Benefits Management

A recurring theme in the podcast is the role of project managers in benefits management. Naybour and O’Shea argue that while benefits management might not be a daily task for project managers, it is a crucial part of their role. They advocate for a mindset shift where project managers view themselves as key players in not just delivering a project but also in realising its benefits.

Case Studies and Practical Approaches

Throughout the podcast, practical examples and case studies are discussed, providing listeners with real-world applications of the theories. These examples underscore the importance of contextual understanding in benefits management – each project and organisation may require a tailored approach.

Benefits Management in Programmes

As the podcast nears its conclusion, the discussion shifts to the role of benefits management within programmes. The speakers clarify that the principles of benefits management apply regardless of whether a project is standalone or part of a larger programme.

Conclusion

In sum, Naybour and O’Shea’s podcast serves as a crucial resource for project managers and professionals involved in project governance. By critically evaluating the importance of benefits management, the conversation underscores the need for a holistic approach to project management, where benefits are central to every decision and strategy. As organisations continue to evolve and the landscape of project management becomes more complex, the insights provided in this podcast offer valuable guidance for aligning projects with strategic objectives and maximising organisational value.

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