Can Portfolios save us? Well that depends on the benefits..

Article by Rachel Jenkins, Training Consultant, Provek

The importance of a Benefits Management Framework and using it effectively to prioritise and optimise project and programme delivery

The annual House of PMO Conference is always an insightful and energising event.  PMOs have eyes on project and programme delivery across the organisation so if there is a trend to be spotted, a gathering of PMO people is the place to find it.

At this year’s June’s conference, once again Portfolio Management was a key theme, and we had the option to attend several case study sessions showcasing the impact of effective portfolio management.  Without a doubt, when implemented effectively a portfolio approach will significantly improve prioritisation of limited resources.  It is also an effective tool to review and optimise the projects and programmes currently underway.

But, and here comes the big but, a portfolio infrastructure cannot save you from your resourcing pile up if it isn’t built upon a firm foundation.  And that firm foundation is your Benefits Management Framework.  I talked to a lot of people throughout the day, most of them wanted to know what I get asked about most frequently.  The look of relief when I said Benefits Management and Realisation was tangible, this was followed by a cathartic outpouring of how difficult it is to implement.

If this sounds like your organisation, you are far from alone.  I can count in single digits the number of organisations I have come across who have a Benefits Management Framework and more importantly, use it effectively to prioritise and optimise project and programme delivery.  An effective Benefits Management Framework is not something the PMO should come up with in isolation and attempt to implement across the organisation, this is a sure fire way to be seen as heralding another administrative burden that will be ignored as soon as you look the other way.

We talk a lot about how the PMO should add value to the business and approached in the right way, development of the framework can be an excellent opportunity to show what we can do.  Imagine the impact if we offer the Executive Leadership Team a solution to not just resource overload but also a way to be more efficient in prioritising projects whilst reducing wasted resources.  We might even be able to mention pipelines without them rolling their eyes into the back of their heads.

The secret is in the messaging and your approach.  It matters not one bit to change the language if you still end up with the same desired output – your Benefits Management Framework.  Talk about return on investment, profitability, strategic priorities and operational efficiency.  Now you are talking executive business language and with it comes a glimmer of interest.  These are the things you will use to build your framework, to identify the outputs and outcomes that matter to the business, and to work out how to measure them in a way that creates interest and value.

Building your Benefits Management Framework does not have to be an isolating and uphill task.  Yes, you will have an extra section to complete on the Project Charter and in Project and Programme plans, but it comes with an understanding and top down support of its importance and the need to evidence delivery from the Business Case through to the post project benefits realisation.

Provek offer training and consultancy for Benefits Management, Realisation and development of your framework.  Contact one of our sales team on 01635 524 610 to find out how we can help you upskill your team and build a benefits framework your organisation sees as adding value not burden.


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