It's all about the hearts and minds

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In today’s economic environment, the enduring objectives of many organisations - decreasing costs, increasing service quality, driving efficiency and effectiveness- have taken on a whole new meaning. For many organisations, today’s strategy is focussed on survival first, growth second. The reasons for investing may have changed but the need for the intended benefits to be fully realised from those investments has also become vital. Very few organisations have cash to ‘burn’ or ‘risk’ on projects which stand little chance of delivering the intended benefits.

So of course, organisations need to become ‘smarter’ about choosing the right investments. But the project and programme management community also have to get smarter about how they run projects and programmes, right?

Well, some may say that all you need for successful benefits realisation is a rigorous project and programme management method, but a recent report by the Benefits Management SIG suggests that unless the whole organisation has a value-centric culture, you’re not likely to get the results you want. The report suggests that you can be great at delivery but the business won't get the benefits unless it focuses on the value that the deliverables are expected to generate- and you don’t get that value without a considerable amount of business change happening, which is where the winning of hearts and minds comes in. The business change elements of the project or programme need to be carefully managed in order to generate the full potential of business benefits - but this is often not the domain of the project and programme management community! This is why (the report suggests) it’s up to the most senior people in the organisation to create this value-centric culture, throughout the organisation. Without it, the PPM community can be excellent at delivering what is in their scope, but it’s often what happens next that can really make the difference between the investment’s perceived success or failure.

This report is already getting favourable feedback, from the type of senior exec that you would not normally find reading PPM-related reports!

The Benefits Management SIG would also really like to get your feedback on the views expressed in this latest report, which is actually the first in a series of four reports, which over the next 9 months, will guide the reader on a journey towards creating a value-centric culture and a really effective benefits management capability.

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Posted by Sarah Harries on 13th Apr 2011

About the Author

I specialise in improving the benefits management capability of individuals and organisations, especially at programme, portfolio and enterprise level, to help ensure that all internal and external investments realise their full potential value. For the last 4 years I have been an independent consultant. I work mainly in central government, transportation, telecoms, IT, media. Prior ti being independent,  I was with BT for over 6 years and Fujitsu Services for 8 years where I also specialised in benefits, portfolio and value management- mainly of IT-enabled change programmes. I have also worked in two internet start-ups. I spent the first 15 yrs of my career as a Sales Account Manager in the media industry.

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