Establish benefits realization plan

It may be tempting to believe that a new product or solution will be so great that once it is launched, users and customers will love it, everything will run by itself, the project can be terminated and focus can be directed towards new, exciting endeavours.  

Looking at experience and the generally low numbers of projects generating real benefits, respect must be paid to the challenge of creating something new and actually getting benefits out of it.  To ensure that benefits are being realized requires a dedicated focus with a number of different activities both before and after launch. These activities can be collected under a benefits realization programme.

Benefits realization main activities and challenge can include:

  • Market activities – making customers and users aware that something new has been made and defining market approach. Getting the attention and interest may require considerable investments.
  • Change management programmes – preparing users and organization on using a new product or solution. It may be a challenge to ensure that the project is prioritized among other initiatives.
  • Setting up measurement systems to track whether the new product or solution is being bought / used / generating the benefits that were projected. Especially when something new and innovative is made, the first attempt may not be a bull’s eye and therefore, changes and adjustments should be anticipated after launch.
  • Planning benefit realization activities after product launch – it is common that project plans and budgets has a focus on building and launching but underestimate the effort that should be invested to realize benefits after launch.
  • Defining who is responsible for benefit realization – this task may have a much longer time span than is usually defined for most projects.
  • Follow-up on business case – reporting on the business case after product launch. Figures are relevant for the specific project but also as learning for future projects.