In September 2014 the APM Benefits Management SIG undertook a questionnaire survey of members, to find out how benefits management is viewed in the organisations that members work for. The results of the survey can be accessed here, and are summarised below.
The survey obtained 44 responses out of a SIG membership of over 1300. It might be assumed that members who were interested enough to undertake the survey were people with a particular interest in benefits management and a resilience to survey fatigue. Therefore the sample is a small one and the results may not be representative of the Benefits Management SIG membership as a whole.
The respondents were almost all based in the UK, and worked in a wide spread of industrial sectors. Benefits management was highly rated on its relevance to the project challenges facing the organisations that members work for but many respondents felt that benefits management was difficult to fit into the way that the organisation undertakes projects. Rarely was there a consensus throughout the whole organisation that benefits management should be integral to project management, and often there was a weak or very weak benefits focus in the wider approach to management. On the question related to the usefulness of benefits management in improving the contribution of projects to organisational goals, the results were mixed, with the most frequent answer being that benefits management is of some use.
Many of the comments made by respondents to explain their answers (Q. 8) developed the theme that organisations appreciate the potential of benefits management, but find it hard to achieve that potential in practice. Keeping a focus on benefits during the whole of the project/programme lifecycle is one of the hardest challenges.
The results resonate with the views of the Benefits Management SIG Committee on the typical experiences of organisations. It is suggested that a common story would be that benefits management is highly relevant to the challenges faced by organisations, but turning that initial interest into action is a challenge. Benefits management may be difficult to fit into existing management routines and there may be resistance to it in parts of the organisation. This may hamper its usefulness in practice, and there will be ambiguity about the role and scope of benefits management across the organisation as a whole.
The survey suggests to the Benefits Management SIG Committee that there is a need for guidance and best practice examples on how benefits management might fit within the overall approach to organisational change and project/programme/portfolio management. This may vary across different types of organisations and industrial sectors, so this cannot be a 'one size fits all' approach, but needs to be tailored to different contexts.