Benefits Summit 2016 - Why are you here? - workshop 5 session write up

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Posted by Laura on 8th Nov 2016

As a practitioner of benefits realisation management, APM was delighted to welcome Judge back to the Benefits Management Summit to share his own brand of practical and pragmatic advice on benefits realisation management along with a desire to make the topic more readily accessible to all. Learning from his own experiences, Judge provided a range of sound advice and guidance that underlines the fundamentals of successful benefits management ensuring that the application of the core process is implemented properly and consistently i.e. identify the benefits, define the benefits, plan the benefits and realise the benefits. As straightforward as that!

About Judge
Judge Matharu: Benefits Manager at Transport for London

Judge is a practitioner of benefits realisation management (BRM) with over 8 years of experience working across private and public sector. He is currently working at Transport for London working on Portfolio Benefits Management.

He is co-author of ‘Practical Benefits Realisation Management’ which looks at the topic through his lens based on his learning and is a practical and pragmatic guide to the application of BRM. He is also involved in capability development including training on the same topic.
Judge has an MBA from Henley Business School where he is also an associate.

Introduction
As a practitioner of benefits realisation management, APM was delighted to welcome Judge back to the Summit to share his own brand of practical and pragmatic advice on benefits realisation management along with a desire to make the topic more readily accessible to all. Learning from his own experiences, Judge provided a range of sound advice and guidance that underlines the fundamentals of successful benefits management ensuring that the application of the core process is implemented properly and consistently i.e. identify the benefits, define the benefits, plan the benefits and realise the benefits. As straightforward as that!

So, why are we here?
Well, Judge explained that the workshop was designed to emphasise a range of hints and tips around the core benefits management process based upon what he had learned over the years. Judge emphasised the need for a simpler more digestible way of describing benefits management to new and existing stakeholders and that he has a desire to make the topic more readily accessible to organisations and individuals, whilst recognising that most of them are either totally, or very, new to BRM theories and methodologies.

Judge was open enough to state that he sometimes finds benefits management a bit complicated and cumbersome and often sought clarity of thought from his peers and colleagues around the topic. Have you ever thought this way? Judge explained that when he started out in the benefits arena some ten years, he was very excited, and having obtained some training and experience of working in a PMO, he was more than ready to apply this learning to a range of important projects to improve the delivery of benefits through successful investment choices.

Initially, Judge struggled to apply BRM, but he quickly learned from his experiences, as he has tested, learned and adapted again and again. The one constant in all the organisations that Judge has worked in has been the need for an uncomplicated way of applying a simple core benefits management process, namely:

Identify the benefits I define them I plan for them I realise them


Benefits realisation management needs a common language

Judge stressed that the use of common language and terminology is essential if benefits stakeholders are going to both understand and commit to benefits realisation management. To further emphasise this point he described a benefit as ‘good stuff’, a dis-benefit as ‘bad-stuff’, a field as ‘stuff’ and objectives as ‘great-stuff’!

He continued by observing that there are many different forms of benefits mapping that are on the market but advised, again, to keep the mapping as simple as possible without unnecessary information or clutter (or interconnecting lines between sectors!), so that consumers and owners of the benefits can grasp the concept and plans as easily as possible.

Keep your measures as simple as possible
Judge demonstrated his accomplishments and approaches in a very light-hearted but focused way. He explained his thinking through scenario based examples and was keen to say, that given all the different ways and levels of measuring a benefit, that it should be ‘One Benefit One Measure’ [OBOM]. Again, keep it simple. His next scenario called for ‘One Benefit One Measure One Row’ [OBOMOR - a clear reference to a benefit register in the form of the universal problem-solver - Microsoft Excel].

Judge also explained the benefit of applying lead and lag indicators when planning for benefits realisation, stating that it is these indicators that enable business decisions to be made around the implementation of change both before and after the event.

Independent evaluation is recommended
In addition, Judge was keen to ensure that the successful realisation of benefits was independently evaluated and, ultimately, signed-off by a third-party to ensure there was no ambiguity or conflict of interest across the stakeholder community. This is particularly important on significant high-visibility projects and programmes of national and international interest.   

The workshop attendees then spent some twenty minutes talking about the pros and cons of the techniques, approaches and challenges associated with the implementation of benefits realisation management across the lifecycle with some excellent debate and discussion.  

As a generous parting gesture from a very experienced benefits practitioner, Judge was very kind in providing a free copy of his latest book called ‘Practical Benefit Realisation Management’ to all attendees.



Also available from the Benefits Summit 2016 conference:

 


 This article was written by Bruce Phillips, APM Benefits Management SIG committee member.

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