Neil White: Benefits Management SIG
Neil is an experienced Change Manager and strong advocate for Benefits Management. He has spent many years working in the Aerospace and Defence sector but in recent times has moved into Transport.
As Chair of the APM Benefits Management SIG, Neil is well positioned to ensure that BM practitioners and Change Sponsors alike look beyond ‘the processes’ to gain an understanding of how Benefits Management supports both the business and its workforce.
Neil has an MSc in Change Management and BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science.
Parag Gogate: Enabling Change SIG
Parag is the Head of Programme Management and Quality for Arcus, a leading facilities management services provider overlooking development and delivery of change programmes, business improvement projects and IT system implementations.
He is also responsible for delivery of IT support services, quality management, risk and business continuity.
He holds an MBA from Durham Business School and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Benefits management processes and activities help assure that an organisation’s investment in change is aligned with its strategic goals and is wholly beneficial. But they can help in other often unseen or less well understood ways. Ultimately, the realisation of benefits requires change but unless the required change outcomes are achieved then the benefits simply won’t happen or, if it does, will be adversely impacted. The required changes that must succeed come in various shapes and forms including:
The development of enabling products including IT systems, tools and infrastructure;
- Change to business management and processes such as HR, Accounts, sales and marketing; and
- People change including values, environment and work practices.
Neil and Parag’s workshop described how Change Management needs can exploit the opportunities presented by the Benefits Management process. Neil introduced the workshop explaining that the objective of the session was to provide practical advice, guidance and tips on how to achieve the greatest value from business investments and change initiatives - particularly through stakeholder engagement.
In business delivery terms there is undeniable synergy and a direct relationship between benefits management and change management; they should be controlled and managed together in order to obtain the best business outcomes. Benefits Management provides many opportunities to engage and implicate stakeholders in the change process and thereby reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of change failure.
There are many reasons why projects and programmes fail, including the inappropriate use of new technology, a failure to understand the needs of those who will use the changes and a failure to recognise that organisations must be successful in transitioning from old to new ways of working.
Change management as an activity can be complex, ambiguous and uncertain so it needs to be managed consistently, collaboratively using a well-defined and structured management approach such as the proven benefits management process.
There is no doubt that change is pervasive in the vast majority of our working environments and this has become a constant and familiar theme in the 21st century. This, will most likely, continue to increase as globalisation, competition and technology grows and develops across the enterprise.
In order to harness these change opportunities, it is essential that benefits realisation management processes assure that an organisation’s investment in change adds value and is aligned to the strategic goals and objectives of the organisation.
Neil and Parag reinforced the essential need for stakeholder interaction, engagement, education and contribution as an absolute ‘must-have’ in any change scenario and, if these factors are not addressed, be prepared for a reduction in the actual level of benefits realised!
The final part of the workshop comprised a team exercise where attendees were asked to analyse the benefits management lifecycle [identify/quantify, value/appraise, plan, realise, review] and specify at what stage of this lifecycle should a number of stakeholder challenges be best addressed. For example:
- If a key stakeholder didn’t believe in benefits management, what stage of the lifecycle provides the best opportunity to change that?
- If a key stakeholder is resistant to the changes at what stage of the lifecycle is this best addressed?
The session concluded with a feedback session and discussion ensuring a thought-provoking and insightful climax to an excellent workshop delivered by two experienced practitioners. View the presentation below.
Also available from the Benefits Summit 2016 conference:
- Benefits Management in an Agile World keynote session write up.
- Addressing the common challenges of Benefits Realisation Management workshop 1 session write up.
- A practitioner's guide to evaluating benefits in business cases workshop 4 session write up.
- Challenges and lesson learnt at DVLA case study write up.
- Delivering major projects in Government session write up.
- Measuring and reporting non-financial benefits using the social return on investment (SROI) framework workshop 6 session write up.
- Network Rail: Offering Rail Better Information Services (ORBIS) programme benefits realisation case study 1 write up.
- Outcome Relationship Models session write up.
- Quantifying the Benefits of Meteorological Services session write up.
- Why are you here? - workshop 5 session write up.
This article was written by Bruce Phillips, APM Benefits Management SIG committee member