The Benefits Realisation Management Framework informs investment decisions and establishes plans to realise intended benefits.
What is Benefits Realisation Management?
BRM informs investment decisions and establishes plans to realise intended benefits. Best practice principles, processes and techniques help stakeholders to clearly articulate:
- why an investment is needed?
- what are the strategic outcomes of a program?
- what are the measurable benefits?
- when will the benefits be realised?
- who owns the benefits?
What is the purpose of the Framework?
The purpose of the Benefits Realisation Management Framework is to provide:
- best practice principles, processes and techniques building upon proven practice across NSW Government
- a structured approach to communicating the need for investment, identifying benefits and organisation responsibilities
- consistent terminology and benefits categories
- guidance for program sponsors and benefit owners.
Who is it for?
The Benefits Realisation Management Framework is for:
- anyone interested in how to identify and value benefits when allocating public funds including change managers, project managers and business analysts
- those interested in implementing benefits management practice including program sponsors, directors, managers and program management office (PMO) staff across NSW Government.
What's in it for me?
The Benefits Realisation Management Framework can help to:
- develop a business case
- identify benefits
- collaborate with stakeholders
- improve the chances of successful business change
- assess and mitigate the risks arising from poor forecasting or program delivery issues
- inform program evaluations.
Part 1: Principles
Part 1 includes a suite of ten principles for best practice. Benefits Realisation Management Rationale is explained for each principle as well as associated implications.
Part 2: Process
Outlines the four high-level phases associated with the Benefits Realisation Management process. This includes the objectives of each phase, key questions to be asked, processes to be undertaken and key deliverables.
For each of the key deliverable there are templates available that can assist and speed up the development of your benefits realisation management deliverables (see Templates section)
Part 3: Guidelines
The purpose of Part 3: Guidelines is to provide an introduction to benefits management practice to assist program management practitioners to implement a benefits process.
Part 4: Implementation
Part 4: Implementation provides information on how to adapt the deliverables and techniques explained in Part 2, Part 3 and templates provided to meet stakeholder needs.
Advising on what should be considered before starting, what analysis will help implementation plans and recommendations for adapting benefits management deliverables. The intent is to provide practical information to:
- help make the benefits analysis in the business case more robust
- make the process and deliverables more relevant to stakeholders
- help embed the benefits management planning and sustain progress towards realisation
- provide information and data to support an evaluation of the program, either as part of the evaluation phase or as an independent program evaluation.
Part 5: Glossary
The glossary provides explanations of key terms and acronyms. It also has a section with references to key policy documents and guides and specifies related best-practice literature.
Related policy documents
NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
NSW Department of Customer Service
Benefits realisation or program evaluation - FAQ
Benefits realisation measures whether a program or project realises the identified benefits as outlined in the business case. Benefits must be measurable.
Evaluation looks at all aspects of a project or program, including unintended outcomes. It can take the form of process, outcome and/or economic evaluation. The type of evaluation will depend on what decision-makers want to learn about the project, e.g. if the implementation of a project is quite straightforward, a process evaluation is not warranted, however there may be a clear case for an outcome evaluation where achievement of outcomes is not clear and requires robust evidence.
Benefits Realisation is more likely to be used for programs or projects that have a documented business case. Benefits Realisation Management in NSW Government has a stronger financial focus which makes it more suitable for projects that have efficiency and cost reduction objectives. It is also more commonly associated with projects that sit under the umbrella of a program of work.
Program evaluation is more suited for projects with outcomes that may be less easy to define and to measure. Program evaluation has progressively developed itself as an academic discipline since the 1970s, and can now rely on a number of well-established tools like program evaluation. Evaluation also has at its disposal a wide range of scientific methods, both quantitative and qualitative, that can bring evidence to any program outcome, whether it is quantifiably measurable or not.
A good Benefits Realisation report demonstrates sound preliminary work in the early framing stage around Benefits dependency mapping. Once benefits are identified and recorded in the Benefits register, they should be regularly monitored and reported against. Good Benefits Realisation Management is embedded into project management continuous improvement approach turned into Business As Usual.
No, not necessarily. Benefits Realisation may be all that is required to report on a project’s performance and achievements.
Evaluation would be required only if there is a case to provide robust evidence against hard to measure outcomes.
Benefits Realisation doesn’t have to be costly. The main investment is in the initial phase where key stakeholders assist in the identification of benefits that will be monitored along the way and potentially realised.
Evaluation can be more resource intensive, but it depends on the type of evaluation chosen. For instance, process evaluations can be quite straightforward in the types of methods used, e.g. document review, stakeholders’ interviews.
An outcome (e.g. more efficient service delivery) is the result of the change derived from using the project’s outputs (customer service training).
A benefit is the measurable improvement resulting from an outcome that is perceived as an advantage by one or more stakeholders (e.g. costs are reduced by 10%).
No. Benefits can be financial or non-financial. Non-financial benefits might include things like improved capability or increased customer satisfaction.
This is indeed a challenge for Benefits Realisation, and even more for Program Evaluation which often considers outcomes that may take several years in the making. Monitoring of benefits and outcomes often stops after the completion of the project, in particular where projects relied on an ad hoc team and contingent workforce. As long as the appropriate governance arrangements are put in place, i.e. a senior executive is responsible for realising the benefit, the likelihood of that benefit being realised increases significantly.
However, organisations should set themselves up to measure benefits and outcomes when required for projects with longer term impact. In these cases, it is recommended to embed benefits or outcomes tracking in to monitoring or performance reporting systems, so that it doesn’t stop with the project team.