What is benefits management?


Benefits management is the identification, definition, planning, tracking and realisation of benefits. Benefits realisation is the practice of ensuring that benefits are derived from outputs and outcomes. 

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition  📖


In order to facilitate benefits realisation during the extended project duration, benefits management is needed as an additional activity required to translate requirements that have been expressed in terms of benefits.

Benefits typically have a tangible value, ideally expressed in monetary terms to justify the investment. They are often realised sometime after transition into use, hence accountability for benefits realisation resting with the sponsor.

(Copyright: APM. Illustration from Body of Knowledge 6th edition)

What is project success?


Project success is the satisfaction of stakeholder needs and is measured by the success criteria agreed at the start of a project. Success is a relative concept, judged by stakeholders and the role of the project professional is to:

  • explore perception of success and benefits;
  • facilitate an agreed position, as far as possible

(Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition)

All projects are designed to bring benefits to the investing organisation, but the success criteria for many projects excludes benefit realisation as this is handled by another part of the organisation. Benefits therefore are different to success criteria.

Success criteria is the satisfaction of stakeholder needs for the deployment of a project. This is a different performance measure to benefits which are focused on the strategic intent and delivering beneficial change. Success criteria are agreed with stakeholders as early as possible but can be changed at any time in the project life cycle, subject to approval through change control.

Achievement of project management success criteria is known at project handover and accountability for achieving the project success criteria rests with the project manager. Project professionals ensure that here is a clear linkage between benefits, project success criteria, project objectives and project requirements.

Read Conditions for project success

(Copyright: APM. Illustration from Body of Knowledge 6th edition)

APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

You can read more about benefits management and project success in chapter one and four of the APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition which is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams.

The seventh edition continues in the spirit of previous editions, collaborating with the project community to create a foundation for the successful delivery of projects, programmes and portfolios.

APM Body of Knowledge


How can we hand over projects better?
How do we improve the transition of a project from the project team delivering in a project life cycle to the end ... read more

Benefits realisation management and its influence on project success and on the execution of business strategies
This article looks at the success rates of projects using benefits realisation management (BRM) practices in organisations surveyed in Brazil, the UK and the USA... read more

Benefits management: Lost or found in translation
This article looks at the spread of knowledge about benefits management and its adoption by organisations; the global development of benefits management... read more

Florence Duomo project (1420–1436): Learning best project management practice from history
This paper recounts the project managed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1420–36 to construct a dome for the newly built cathedral in Florence, Italy – an enormous technical challenge... read more

Social return on investment (SROI): A powerful tool for the realisation of benefits
APM Specific Interest Group white paper read more

Benefits management lifecycle
APM's Benefits Management SIG have written a practitioner's guide to this area of project management... read more

Value and benefits
Why do we do projects? What are we trying to achieve? ... read more

From business case to benefits realisation: Theory and practice in UK government projects
This model is designed to ensure that projects are; compelling, viable, affordable and achievable and, most important of all, they represent optimal value for money... read more

Exploring how to design an effective survey on benefits management
This report constitutes the second output of a project to design a survey on benefits management (BM), initiated by the Specific Interest Group (SIG)... read more

Find resources to manage projects

APM Benefits and Value SIG

The Benefits and Value SIG (BV) is here to help members, the project management profession, and the public to enjoy successful projects.

APM Benefits and Value SIG

Could you be a project manager?

A good place to start is to visit our careers section; this provides you with the tools and resources to begin your project management journey.

APM Careers

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